On the 25th of October I went out to Pitlochry to help Jeannie out with the Pitlochry Path group. The day got off to a good start as I arrived in Pitlochry and I noticed that the group were very hard workers. The task the group were doing was repairing a path just past the train station.
On the train ride home I was treated to some beautiful views with all the trees turning into really nice reds and oranges and a few mesmerizing streams. When I got back to Perth I went to a Modern Apprentice meeting about how to behave on social media.
Did you know that this week (24th-30th September) is Red Squirrel Awareness Week?
Perth and Kinross can be a great place for spotting these amazing creatures. From Kinnoull Hill in Perth to the Den o’ Alyth or the Black Spout Woods, many of our countryside sites are home to the Red Squirrel. Take a walk out in your local forest and you may be lucky enough to see one! Red squirrels tend to build their nests, or dreys, in tall coniferous trees, and are often seen scrambling up the trunks of trees.
A Red Squirrel spotted near Aberfeldy by Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell
Red squirrels are very busy during the autumn, making this time of year perfect for spotting them. Keep a look out on the forest floor as they collect berries, seeds, nuts and fungi to keep themselves fed through the winter months. Listen for the sound of the squirrels climbing up the trees, chewing on a pine cone, or shouting to another squirrel. You can also often tell if red squirrels are nearby by finding chewed pine cones scattered around the forest floor.
Perth and Kinross Council Community Greenspace ranger and Breadalabane Community Library attended the community workshop about making a Dementia Friendly Aberfeldy.
This working partnership used this event to launch the ten week block of dementia friendly sessions, for early spring 2019. The theme is life cycles, looking at Butterflies and plant life cycles. These sessions will be open to all and will be a mix of indoor and outdoor time, with time for a cuppa and chat.
The event was very inspiring and full of use full tips, which we and other organisations will be taking. So if you have any ideas or suggestions how to make Aberfeldy’s greenspaces dementia friendly and therefore friendly to all please do get in touch, email@example.com .
For those interested in who else was there please see the Facebook write up, below.
Dementia Friendly Aberfeldy Launch Event
The purpose of the event was to establish if there was appetite within the community for Aberfeldy to work towards Dementia-Friendly status.
The event was well attended with 72 people taking part, including speakers.
There were essentially two parts to the event. The first part explored already established dementia–friendly communities nationally and internationally. The second, a Market Stall section that functioned as folk were gathering, but which was set up the whole time, in which 16 organisations were able to show and tell their work in this area.
There was clear support for taking the concept of Dementia-Friendly Aberfeldy forward and the next steps were outlined by Janette Barrie.
If interested in supporting the group, please get in touch via the e-mail address
Organisations and Contact Info (no particular order):
• The Care and Wellbeing Co-operative – Helping shape care in rural Perthshire www.thecareandwellbeing.coop
Ph: 07548 257 436 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• Alzheimer Scotland – Action on Dementia. www.alzscot.org
Freephone: 0808 808 3000 – e-mail: email@example.com
• The Home Safety Partnership (NHS Tayside, PKC, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Scottish Police, Perthshire Housing, PKAVS, Age Scotland) contact Carolyn Wilson E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01738 473146
• Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities – contact Audra Webster for the North Perthshire Locality. E-mail email@example.com Mob: 07896 280 852
• The Birks Cinema Screen Memories Project – resuming Soon – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Birks Cinema Adult Health and Well Being Activities :
Chair Based Exercise – Mondays 11.15-12.00 am – with Emma Burtles
Craic ‘n’ Craft Thursday from 2-4 pm for a cup of tea, craic and craft
Second Sunday of the month 3pm Afternoon tea and singalong
More info: from Fiona 07990 834 092 www.birkscinema.co.uk
• Start Active, Stay Active: www.bit.ly/startactive
• Stride for Life Health Walks – live active Wellbeing – www.liveactive.co.uk
Contact Colin Melville email@example.com Ph: 01738 454 628 – Walks established in Kinross, Crieff, Alyth, North Muirton, Birnam, Bankfoot, Stanley …. Aberfeldy next?
• Kirrie Connections: The Dementia Friendly Kirremuir Project. www.kirrieconnections.com
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01575 573 805
• PKAVS Thirds Sector and Volunteering Hubs – Third Sector Interface for Perth & Kinross (TSI) www.thirdsectorpk.org.uk E-mail email@example.com Ph: 01738 567 076
(PKAVS = Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service Ltd. It is a registered Charity)
• Paths for All – supporting a network of Health Walk groups across Scotland www.pathsforall.org.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 01259 218 888
• Live active Wellbeing – Make the First Move – advice and support www.liveactive.co.uk Active Community Team Tel: 01738 454 616
Activity Referral Coordinators Tel: 01738 454660
General Wellbeing Enquiries E-mail email@example.com
• PKAVS Carers Hub – www.pkavscarershub.org.uk Ph: 01738 452 214 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• Wellbeing Support Team Aberfeldy Ph: 01887 822462 www.pkc.gov.uk/mentalhealth
• The Home Straight – Independent Living Solutions for older people www.thehomestraight.org.uk Call: 07840 544 420 E-mail email@example.com
• Happy Highlanders For partners, carers or befrienders of someone suffering from Dementia
Contacts: Margaret Hamilton (Chair) 01796 470 360 or Linda Crookston (Vice Chair) 01796 482 724 or Linda Thomson (Secretary) 01738 787 425
A challenge has been set between the Rannoch Station Bloom Group and the Rannoch Path Group to jointly work on a project! However, the challenge has grown arms and legs! The priority was to fix and clean a boardwalk, but has developed into restoring the mini bog and provide an access for all eating area for visitors and locals.
The mini bog and boardwalk were developed by the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust over 20 years ago, which not only included the boardwalk and bog but also a shelter and way marker. All of these features have been a huge asset to the car park area and just need a little work to bring them back to their former glory.
The first session saw five volunteers almost madden by the midge…. the first day of them appearing as well! Midge nets and a fan did save the day! In three hours the group dealt with the broken section of boardwalk, cutting back encroaching vegetation, crown lifting on neighbouring trees, litter picking and cleaning of the information board.
If you are interested in joining these groups to restore the mini bog, please contact Annie on firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeannie at email@example.com and you will be contacted with times and meeting place for the next stage of restoration in November.
In the volunteers own words of their experience, please see the facebook post below.
Lead by Jeannie Grant PKC Greenspace Ranger 4 members of Rannoch Paths Group joined Rannoch Station in Bloom to START the renovation of the board walk at the station. Clearing, chopping and fixing. Pressure washing supplied by Moor of Rannoch Hotel and sustenance provided by Tea Room who saved the day with cake and welcome midge head bags! Future plans are to interpret and reinstate the bog garden.
The Robert Burns statue and seat in the Birks of Aberfeldy has been removed for essential maintenance. We anticipate that the statue will be back in place soon and we are sorry for any disappointment this causes visitors.
Whilst the statue is away, the seat is getting a clean and the seating area will get a proper tidy up. Please adhere to any other signs whilst this work is being completed.
It is not often that a Ranger get invited to a Bloom AGM, but we snuck in under the Path group remit as they are the umbrella organisation. What I hadn’t appreciated was that the Bloom Group is 25 years old, so we all got a bit of cake!
This group has achieved a lot over the 25 years but like all groups they need more volunteers and in their own words of their success and plea….
“Pitlochry in Bloom will be 25 years old this year.
I have been the Secretary of Pitlochry in Bloom for just over a year. I was quite new to the Committee and certainly had not realised what this Committee (The Bloomers) had done for the town over these years. They have worked tirelessly in Pitlochry since 1993, winning numerous awards and looking after the local environment, along with a band of volunteers and local groups including the Litter Pick Group and the Path Group. Were you aware of some of their work ?
Let me list some of them here for you.
The three stone signs at each of the entrances to the town welcoming you to Pitlochry;
The bed with the postman on his penny farthing beside the sorting office;
The bed with the whisky still in the middle opposite Aldour;
The fisherman in his boat just before the railway bridge;
The Victorian nanny with her pram at the other side of the railway bridge;
The stone loving seat opposite the scout hut;
The four large round metal
Containers at the War Memorial and the four metal benches depicting soldiers from the First World War;
The Victorian flower seller outside the RBS bank and the Porter at the station.
This is only some of the work Pitlochry in Bloom have done with fundraising and securing different grants. BUT they all have to be weeded, planted and repaired and this is down to a very dwindling band of our superb volunteers.
The benefits the town receives are incalculable and I am sure you have all seen the tourists who come and take many photos and memories back home and describe Pitlochry as a beautiful, clean and welcoming town with its Summer Hanging Baskets and various floral displays and excellent path network.
The “Bloomers” urgently need some more local participation in order to continue. This is a very urgent appeal and without some new people stepping forward our survival is in doubt.
It would be tragic if this was to come to an end and all the flowers disappeared.
Please get in touch with me if you are able to offer some of your time to help this very worthwhile Committee, either as a volunteer to help with gardening or bring new energy to our Committee.
The Highland Perthshire litter picking “kit” has been out in force this year, bringing together a number of groups and people. It all started in in the winter with Rannoch Path Group tackling a viewpoint and car park, whilst planting a new wildlife hedge!
March saw Deeds for Needs targeting core known areas within Aberfeldy, which was done again in May with pupils from Breadalbane Academy and teachers doing litter picks all over town and on Core paths. Their efforts alone brought in another 20-30 kg of litter. Deeds for Needs were delighted and pleased to see pupils engaging with the issue. The litterpick has been repeated again by the 17th Perthshire Aberfeldy Cubs in May. Grandtully Primary school have issued litter picking as part of their “homework” and Eco-school project.
In Blair Atholl the community and Estate joined forces to clear the litter in the village and the approaching roads in March.
Many communities continue to do regular litter picks such as Pitlochry Litter picking group and at Strathtay and Grandtully. So if you want to join a group near you, please get in touch.
Storage space for any Volunteer group is a luxury! It is not only what type of storage is needed, but also how to afford it. In 2017 BRAN (Blairgowrie and Rattray Access Network) donated their second hand shed to the Pitlochry Path Group. Luckily for the group a home was found in Pitlochry Recreation Park. Although, this seems a simple process the transportation, landowner permission etc. all kept the Community Greenspace Coordinators on their toes!
When it came to decide how the shed should be used, it became apparent that the Pitlochry Litter picking group, whom also sit under the Pitlochry in Bloom constitution would benefit with storage near their starting point – Pitlochry Recreation Park! So it was decided that the shed should be shared.
A grateful as the group was with the donation, it did not come with its own issues – rot! Again this does not come cheap to resolve! With assistance from Pitlochry Pavilion User Group work could progress in fixing the shed.
Finally, a joint task day was done to sort out a little rot issue. As ever it was not that simple, thankfully determined volunteers and a loan of some tools the group got there in the end! All it now needs is a paint job. If this good weather continues the shed will hopefully look five years younger, shortly!
Mysterious little doorways and shelters, small enough for faeries or a “peg person” to child size have been appearing in the woods….. in the Birks of Aberfeldy. This has been
partly due to the increase use by Breadalbane Primary School. This has been done through outdoor education sessions.
PKC Community Greenspace Ranger Service has been supporting a number of groups to complete both the John Muir Awards and Patrick Geddes Awards by introducing them to the woodland and its history and providing conservation tasks, all in line with the woodland management plan.
Other groups such as the Aberfeldy Beaver Scouts are also using this resource. There will be many more that we do not even know about!
This has seen an increase of den building by all user groups. This has unfortunately lead to habitat piles being taken apart for this educational exercise and just for fun. The Ranger Service will therefore be trialing adopt a habitat pile and a designated area for den building and would love to hear what the users of the Birks think of this.