As a Ranger it is easy to sell the benefits of volunteering but not often do we hear what the participants have to say. The Ranger from Highland Perthshire worked with two different groups from Abernethy Ardeonaig Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) residents and the Rannoch Path Group. As part of their experience to gain the John Muir Award participants were asked to write a few words of their experience…
As part of our DofE Gold Residential, we undertook two days of conservation volunteering with Annie from the Rannoch Path Group and Jeannie, the PKC Community Greenspace Ranger. On the first day, we met at the Lassintulloch forest entrance and set off on the path to MacGregor’s Cave.
There was a lot of bracken growing at the sides, so we used bracken bashers to bruise the stems, which weakens the bracken if repeated over a number of years. We also used loppers to cut back some vegetation which was a trip hazard, as well as some overhanging branches by the stepping stones over the burn.
On the second day we cleared the Hillside Path in Kinloch Rannoch, again using bracken bashers and loppers. We also used bow saws to cut back some fallen trees which were across the path, and a scythe for the long grass. We loved using the tools!
The paths are in a beautiful area, and we hope that people will be able to use them walking side by side rather than just in single file.
Andrew, Guy, Michael and Will
When we signed up to an Environment & Conservation Residential, I don’t think any of us pictured the following scene: standing in the pouring rain beside a raging (but still beautiful) waterfall. Yet we were there, and we were enjoying it to boot!
Maybe it was down to the company – the group of us who had not met before this week, and since had become the best of friends. Maybe it was down to the instruction – Jeannie, Annie and the Abernethy Team had created an incredible environment in which to work. Yet I suspect it was both of these and more.
The work we were doing felt meaningful. We began by widening a path, then lopping trees, bashing bracken, digging ditches, scooping bark and, in the end, improving the views. Of course, none of this could have been done without a set of awesome (yet dangerous) tools that kept us on our toes!
All was rounded off with a few great surprises – a walker who left a goody-bag for us as thanks for our work greatly boosted morale, the use of a Kelly Kettle for a welcome cuppa and toasted marshmallows created a community atmosphere, and the chance to meet some amazing volunteers made the experience truly excellent, despite the Scottish weather.
James & Ben, on behalf of the rest of the team: Dion, Gianna, Rachel, Kate, Meaghan, Chloe, Bethan, Cecilia & Sophie