Highland Perthshire was buzzing with volunteers during May! It was a busy month with community groups, school groups out working together. Tasks included refurbishing a boardwalk at Rannoch Station, removing Beech trees from the Birks of Aberfeldy, building bird boxes and bashing bracken.
As a result of the wet weather and number of tasks we had a mountain of gloves needing to be washed! Thank goodness for the amazing donations of cake that kept everyone motivated and full of energy!
The Cateran Yomp passes along the Gallowbank on its way to the finish at Bogles Field, so wishing to ensure no final mishaps for the runners, BRAN decided to give the path a good makeover.
Roger Mackey had cut the grass during the week and on Friday 7th, eight volunteers assembled to carry our strimming, hedge trimming, lopping, hand shearing and any necessary litter picking. The entire length of the path was included from Newton Street to Dunkeld Road. The weather was kind and the job was completed by lunchtime.
As a bonus Wendy Mackey kindly provided refreshments before the volunteers dispersed.
Those taking part were Cyril Reid, Paul Lumley (his first outing with the group), Ian Cruickshank, Eric Grant, Roger Mackey, Alan Comrie. Kristin Barrett and Ian Richards.
The photograph shows most of the group after completing their work.
Everyone is welcome to join us at the opening of phase 3 of the Provost’s Walk in Auchterarder on Wednesday 3rd July at 2pm!
Starting south of the Public Park, off Western Road, the celebration event will begin at 14.00 with the ribbon cutting and shall then involve a visit along the path to the western end and back again. The return distance is just over two kilometres and the path will be open to all non-motorised traffic – foot, bicycle, wheelchair/mechanical wheelchair, pram and horse. This will be a great opportunity to meet with those involved, including funders, community path volunteers, and other members of the Auchterarder Community, some of whom have never visited this section of the path due to the poor condition of the surface, drainage and the narrow width plus difficult access at the western end.
Further works to improve the Provost Walk in Auchterarder are well underway, continuing the incredible work that has already been done to improve this path network.
Meanwhile the Auchterarder Core Paths Working Group have been incredibly busy on the Jubilee walk, public park and surrounding paths through organised tidy-up sessions – even in the torrential rain!
“We still managed to tidy some of the Provost with our new tools today! We were soon warm after a brushing work out. Followed by bramble pruning and a quick litter pick. Primroses are flowering well now! Coffee n biscuits at the finish were well received. Thank you Jane.”
Over the last couple of months the Portmoak Paths Group amd Portmoak Community Council have been working hard to maintain the historical “Dryside Road” core path that runs from Easter Balgedie, behind Wester Balgedie to GlenLomond, after which it continues as a vehicular route. The path is well known to some of the locals, but has never benefitted from proper signage. For their last meeting of the year, Ranger Calum met with the group on the 13th December to install new signage posts at either end of the path, as well as another at the start of the core path to Glenvale.
We used a new signage design, one of the first to be used for the core paths in Perth and Kinross, and incorporated it into the new posts. Compared to the finger posts and large arrow blades used elsewhere, these new designs are smaller and mounted directly onto a shorter fence post. This allows easier installation and maintenance, as well as reducing the risk of signs being hit by large vehicles driving past – especially important to consider when placing signs at the entrance to farms! From a walker or cyclists perspective, the signs are at a better height for being read, and they are less intrusive on the landscape.
Moving forward, there are plans to further improve the path by installing a new gate and cutting back vegetation where the path has overgrown.
On 22nd November we went out to meet the Portmoak Path Group, bringing along our “flail” – essentially a large grass cutter capable of cutting long and thick undergrowth. We were cutting the vegetation and grass along a 600m length of core path between Kinnesswood and Portmoak Moss, before it gets too overgrown. Despite a bit of rain, the flail made short work of the cutting while some volunteers used machetes to remove some bracken on the path edge.
Andrew from the group tackling the path edge
Reminding ourselves which button does what…
The freshly cut path – ready to be walked!
Calum taking the flail for a spin
The Portmoak Paths Group meets almost every week to maintain a variety of paths in the Kinnesswood/Baldegie area. If you would like to be involved, or to be put in contact with the group please contact Ranger Calum at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Auchterarder Sports and Recreation Path Group have been going from strength to strength with almost a full year worth of tasks now under their belt.
The group were out on the Provost walk again this time starting from the primrose park end and managing the vegetation going along phase two of the walk. We noticed that there was some Himalayan balsam coming from the stream but unfortunately all the seeds had already popped on this. This will be something the group will tackle next year as it is only a small amount and easily manageable.
The group split in to two smaller groups with one group focusing on strimming the edges and the other group cutting back any woody plants or branches along the length.
A special thank you to Bear Scotland who have been very supportive of the group and were able to provide some willing volunteers!
The next focus for the group will be to get out on the paths and figure out what is needing to be done over the next 6 months looking at the wider network above and beyond the improved footpaths.
If you are interested in joining the group on one of the tasks please contact Alan Dorman- email@example.com
I got to visit the beautiful Loch Earn the other week to assist our St Fillans path group on the Glen Tarken Loop there are a couple of fords on the route and one of them is particularly challenging to cross at times.
The group decided they wanted to try and assist walkers using the path by creating an “option” of stepping stones that people could choose to use if they couldn’t get across any other way.
The task involved manoeuvring some boulders and getting them flat and stable with no movement at all, also ensuring that the river can still flow effectively. It is a little experimental and there is no guarantee the stones won’t just get washed away in the first storm but it is worth a try.
View from Glen Tarken over Loch Earn
The group are going to keep an eye on the stones and monitor for movement and also make sure they aren’t too slippy. If they become to slippy we will remove them.
Crieff Community Trust Path group were hard at work again. This time on a section of the Knock Promoted Path running along the back of the golf course. The path had become severely overgrown with rhododendron and laurel over the years to where it was only passible in single file.
The group decided to take this on and improve it to make it easier for all access takers.
Working away cutting back the rhododendron
They proceeded to hack away at the bushes to original path width leaving the cut material in habitat piles in the open areas next to the path. The next step will be to re-grade the path and take it back to its original width and put some additional path materials down to re-secure the path.
It was a great day and the group had a lot to show for their efforts!