Maintaining paths in Pitlochry

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.

Fantastic work going on at Kirkmichael

Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust’s recent project at the Kirkmichael path network has involved the waymarking of over 10 miles of paths with short, medium and longer routes to suit all abilities.  4 new interpretation panels are being created and a new path network leaflet is to be produced, which will be available to download at their website.

The project has been a collaboration between PKCT and the Mount Blair Development Trust with PKCT managing all the contract work.  Funding has come from the Drumderg Wind Farm, Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund, Awards for All and the PKC Community Environmental Challenge Fund.

Kirkmichael is 12 miles to the west of Pitlochry and has great long distance path links to Pitlochry, Dunkeld and Glenshee.  Nearby Kindrogan Forest is also well suited to mountain bikers.

There are a number of excellent hotels, B&Bs and pubs in the village and the Cateran Trail runs right through.

Mount Blair Development Trust Facebook page

Another Path!

The Pitlochry Path Group have spent two sessions improving the access road into the Black Spout Wood in Pitlochry for walkers and vehicles alike.  Since this work has not been carried out for a number of years it was a hard task.  With the un-likelihood of anybody else picking up the yearly maintenance required the group have decided to add this onto their rolling work programme.  Doing it on a yearly basis will make it more manageable.

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As the group take care of more and more tasks in the Pitlochry area, they are in need of community support via new volunteers and finances!  Anybody interested should contact the group via pitlochrypath@gmail.com.  Help can come in many forms and not just physical labour…

The Recycle Challenge

The Zero Waste Highland Perthshire Officer and the Bike Station in Perth have set a challenge to the Highland Area Ranger to recycle tyres from bicycles! Not the inner tubes but the actual tyre! In return a large amount of inner tubes from bicycles will be provided to put up bird boxes in two parks (Pitlochry recreation ground and Memorial Park in Blair Atholl).

With the challenge set, Jeannie decided to use the tyres cut up in sections as hinges of the bird boxes made at the Gala Day at Pitlochry recreation ground and at the Cairngorm Park Nature Festival weekend in Blair Atholl. Road bike tyres worked fine but mountain bike tyres were too chunky! So with half of the challenge completed the thinking cap needs to go on how mountain bike tyres can be recycled!

Hard-core Volunteers

 

For a while now the Highland Greenspace Ranger Jeannie Grant has been working with a Path Group, with the dedication and determination to meet regardless of the weather!  Today was no exception! The task started in the sunshine but soon declined into horizontal sleet, rain, hail and snow!  They persevered to get the path cleared of leaves and encroaching vegetation.

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A mile was cleared in a couple of hours.  They were not satisfied with the length achieved during this time and have organised a follow up task next week, so that it is all clear for the Christmas holidays to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.The group in question is the Pitlochry Path Group.

Why not come along or find out more by contacting Jeannie Grant on 07788 190876.  It is not only a good workout but you get a cuppa and a natter to!

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Pitlochry Path Group – Garry Tummel Walk

Pitlochry Path Group spent two sessions fixing an important fence on the locally known Garry Tummel walk – the fence had been broken about 18 months ago by a fallen tree. 

The fence has provided support in icy conditions and helped to define the path in the past.  It was therefore a vital fence to mend.  The Pitlochry Path Group fixed the fence with precision and care (it was not a quick fix!) As a Ranger I am impressed in the care taken to repair the fence to the highest standard with the materials we had.  All the volunteers and the ranger learned something new, and we hope the fence survives another twenty years, without incident.

Jeannie.

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Tree cage clearing in Black Spout Woods

Last Friday (29th May) some of the conservation volunteers went to Black Spout woods near Pitlochry to help Greenspace Ranger Jeannie to clear out some tree cages. The wood is a semi-natural oak woodland which was managed as an oak coppice and is an easy walk from the town centre on pavements, or via the Edradour Path. There have been several trees planted over the last 5 years, including Hazel, Birch and Scots Pine.

Most of these trees were planted in cages or tree tubes to prevent them being eaten by deer or rabbits. The task today was to remove any overgrown vegetation from within these cages that may have a negative impact on the growth of the planted trees, as well as releasing trees that had outgrown their tree tubes.

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There was a huge difference made in some of the cages. In some cases it was difficult to tell there was still a tree in the Scots Pine cages before they were cleared, but they now stand a much better chance after removing the encroaching plants. Around 10 to 15 birch trees were also freed from their tubes now they are big enough to avoid grazing by deer.

To find out about volunteering opportunities in Black Spout Woods contact:
Jeannie Grant
Community Greenspace Ranger
Breadalbane Community Campus, Crieff Road, Aberfeldy, PH15 2DU
Tel – 01887 822 425
Mobile – 07788 190 876

Further paths works & volunteering in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy Tree Trail

Whilst doing the Explorer John Muir Award with the Community Greenspace Ranger, the volunteers have been helping to record the condition of the trees along the Tree Trail in the Birks of Aberfeldy.  The Tree Trail was designed and planted by the Matterson Family (Cluny Gardens) in the early 1960’s.

Birks of Aberfeldy PathsTo date the group has concentrated in maintaining the multiuser path width and removal of competition species to those in the tree trail.  However, over the past two weeks we have been looking at the condition of the trees.  They have been using a variety of information from maps drawn in the 1990’s to records of what trees were given plaques in 2011.  The group is thinking of ways how to collate all the historical data onto one spreadsheet or map.  This has the potential to be developed into a project towards schoolwork or higher education qualification. If interested please contact the Ranger as below.

Pitlochry Path Group start upgrading with SSE funding 

Pitlochry Path Group have been busy filling in application forms for Pitlochry Path upgrades.  They have been successful in gaining a £10000 grant from SSE.  The money will be spent on making a multiuser path from the Pitlochry Dam to the shore of Loch Faskally, new fencing and the group are repairing Lady Dell section of the path.

Today’s task was building up the path at Lady Dell using sandbags and type one materials.  The group split into smaller teams and production lines were created to fill sand bags, laying the bags, back filling and compacting the materials.  Work has not been completed and if you feel like joining in why not contact the Ranger to find out more!

Jeannie Grant
Community Greenspace Ranger
Breadalbane Community Campus, Crieff Road, Aberfeldy, PH15 2DU
Tel – 01887 822 425
Mobile – 07788 190 876

Pitlochry Paths Group

On Thursday 14th May Pitlochry Paths Group carried out some work at the Pitlochry Recreation Ground car park, joined by Greenspace Ranger Jeannie Grant. Pitlochry Rec is a fantastic park with a play area, football pitches, skatepark, terraces and a pavillion, but unfortunately the car park was getting a bit overgrown.

It was important that gloves were worn during this task as many of the bushes had sharp thorns, making it quite difficult to deal with. Although the bushes were being cut back to only 1 foot from the road edge, it was amazing how much plant material was eventually removed. The cuttings were placed into a couple of piles to be collected by the council afterwards, and the dust and debris was swept up too. There was quite a significant difference made over the morning – allowing everyone to leave quite satisfied with their work.

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Pitlochry Paths Group are a relatively new group, formed in 2014 and would welcome new members. Their goals are to improve and maintain the variety of path networks in and around Pitlochry. The group meet every other Thursday; for information on how to join please email Councillor Kate Howie at: khowie@pkc.gov.uk