So this week I found out I have been re-christened ‘Bill’ by the rest of my team as I am now “One of the lads”. I can’t begin to describe how happy I am about this new title…(note the sarcastic tone).
This week I don’t have so many exciting pictures of varied Scottish landscapes as we’ve just been based at our Path site at Craigmore trying to crack on with our stone features and landscaping. The giant crossdrain built by Ryan and Jake is now complete and Ross even managed to dig out some aggregate for surfacing material. Perhaps not enough to cover the whole path, but it is good to see things begin to come together.
Rory and I built our first water bar, which last week I explained functions to divert surface water off the path. It involved a lot of initiative on our part, trusting our judgement when choosing the stones we were going to build with. After reading a bit about the construction the night before and getting some tips from Gordon, I felt quite confident we could do it. After a brief mistake of not setting the heaviest stone at the bottom, we managed to build it in just a morning. We also built another two anchor bars and continued the week landscaping over some spoil piles, borrow pits and breaking stone for cobble. My Sledge hammer skills are improving everyday. Dad will be so proud!
On Tuesday morning Will Huckerby, Community, Recreation and Tourism manager for Forest Enterprise Scotland came up to our site to talk to us a bit more about the role of The Forestry commission.
Forest Enterprise Scotland are the operations arm of Forestry Commission Scotland and manage Scotland’s National Forest Estate in line with the Government’s Scottish Forestry Strategy. Many people think this means just timber production, which is part of it but they also work to develop opportunities for renewable energy, create and maintain trails and visitor facilities, and conserve the estate’s habitats, wildlife and archaeological treasures.
Will also touched on a few initiatives they are working on to promote public engagement with the outdoors.
One being their ‘Keep It Clean’ campaign, making people aware of the risks that affect our forests. Pests and diseases are so easily spread and can dramatically affect the health of our trees, upsetting the delicate ecosystem balance and devastating large areas of woodland. They can be carried in mud and debris on shoes, paws and tyres, ending up in new forests and can then spread rapidly in environments with no natural resilience. The idea is to just take a moment to brush off any visible dirt, and give everything a good wash. This helps slow the spread of disease, preserving our woodlands now and for future generations.
He also spoke to us about The Great Trossachs Forest. It is a partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland, RSPB Scotland and Woodland Trust Scotland and is located at the heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. It covers an area the size of Glasgow (16,500ha) and more than 1.5 million trees have been planted through the project, eventually creating one of the UKs largest native woodlands. The accolade of National Nature Reserve reflects the forests diverse mix of qualities and helps confirm the Great Trossachs Forest project as a showcase for landscape-scale and co-operative land management. The Great Trossachs Forest met the NNR criteria on several counts. It contains nine designated sites along with other important non-designated habitats. It’s home to protected species such as golden eagle, pine marten, otter and red squirrel. There is also an ongoing programme of work to remove invasive species and non-native trees.
On Wednesday, we were invited along to National Park Headquarters 10.02 meeting as Tom and Rosie were giving a presentation about The Mountains and the People to the park staff. It was great to meet some of the people who have been involved in working with the project and there were a lot of really kind words about the blog. I got to put some faces to a lot of twitter names and It’s really nice to know that my blog is apparently a good read. I feel like the pressure is on now for me to keep it interesting! A big thank you for having us along.