Well, where does the time go, since our last instalment we have been cramming a lot in. Not only have Friends of Nevis had their own events but volunteers have been able to get involved in all Nevis Landscape Partnership events. It’s been busy….Here are a few mentions…
Footpath Work Parties have continued every month and volunteers have been trying to keep on top of the maintenance of these paths. Contractors cover big chunks of the work however unless these paths are maintained they easily become damaged and eroded. Our volunteers are vital in the upkeep of these paths for the use of all, thank you!
Our Citizen Science events have continued to be popular with Gordon Strachan running a Wild Flowers of Glen Nevis event around Steall Gorge and Liz Holden running a Fungi Foray event round Leanachan Forest. Both events were popular and delivered with lots of enthusiasm and we all came away with lots to think about.
And then to the children…
A Family Bushcraft Day run by Pete Long during the October holidays was a great opportunity for families to learn and have fun together. Weather was pretty miserable however this dampened no-one’s spirits and shelters were built, fires made and marshmallows enjoyed by all.
We joined forces with Forestry Commission Scotland and Highland Council Rangers to run a couple of school events. Lundavra Primary enjoyed a visit to Leananchan woods for an Adventurers and Explorers day and Inverlochy Primary learned map reading skills and put these to the test during a treasure hunt which allowed them to find equipment to build a fire and have smores and hot chocolate!
One thing (among many other skills!) Friends of Nevis volunteers do brilliantly is keeping Glen Nevis clean and tidy. Hardy, dedicated volunteers, both young and old did a fantastic job this year keeping Glen Nevis presentable for the benefit of the environment and for others to appreciate and enjoy as much as we all do. A huge thank you for those prepared to do the less glamorous but very rewarding work.
We have been so busy over here I haven't had a chance to sit down and tell you all about what we have been up to so here goes..
First of all, way back in May we had another excellent bushcraft workshop with the super-talented Pete Long. A mixture of Nevis Trainee Rangers & the general public enjoyed learning how to survive in the wild, build shelters and enjoy tasty wild foods. Thank you to everyone who came along, it's good to go wild now & again!
We continued our walk on the wild side and dabbled in some foraging with Claire, West Highland Herbal. Claire's workshops are always popular, the Herb Walk and Workshop were both fully booked weeks in advance, make a note to book early for the next one! There was plenty of foraging to be done in Glen Nevis and what the group collected with was enough to create lots of edible treats & medicinal lotions back at Friends of Nevis HQ.
We followed up our fortnight of being wild things with some good old fashioned work parties. First up, our volunteers travelled to The Lake District for a weekend in the middle of June to lend a hand to the "Fix the Fells" campaign and make friends with similar organisations, hopefully the folk we met will travel north and return the favour. Next on the cards was our first ever Thistle Camp with National Trust for Scotland, a week-long footpath work party focusing on the Ben Nevis mountain track. The working holiday was booked up, the sun shone all week & the volunteers worked really hard to make a HUGE difference to the track, take a look. If we had used contractors for this it would've cost nearly £30,000, power to the volunteers!
Here at Friends of Nevis we have loved having Ruth, Nicolle, Eliot & Katie come along and lend a hand on almost all of our recent events. The fab four are taking part in The Nevis Training Programme, a ten-week placement in the area offering them essential work experience to gain employment in the environmental sector. We just wanted to say a big thanks for all your help & the long shifts you put in to man the registration desks and marshall the Caledonian Challenge after a hard-week of Thistle Camp'ing. Well done folks!
Phew! So we've covered May through to early July, are you still with us?
We said goodbye to the first lot of volunteer rangers and welcomed four new trainees last month & wasted no time getting them stuck into some of our engagement events including the popular "Bird Ringing & Mist Netting" workshop as part of our Citizen Science programme. A great event and a chance for volunteers and trainees alike to get up close to lots of different bird species and learn how to safely handle and ring the little critters.
We spent last week on a roadtrip around Lochaber bringing bushcraft & environmental games to the wee ones during their rainy summer holidays as part of the excellent Active Schools programme. Ciaran, one of the new trainees, commented on how hardy Lochaber kids were & how completely oblivious they were to the awful weather. All in all a great week of unplugged, natural play which we think the kids of Glencoe, Kinlochleven, Strontian, Arisaig & Fort William enjoyed almost as much as we did, good fun all round.
There you have it folks! A big write-up but I think that's everything from the past wee while that we here at Friends of Nevis have been up to. You are all more than welcome to join in with any of our events, we would love to have you. In fact, this Saturday we are having a Footpath Work Party, if you fancy showing the local mountain paths some love then please sign up here. Keep an eye on here for updates & over on Nevis Landscape Partnership's Facebook page.
All the best, enjoy the weather!
Susan, Friends of Nevis Volunteer Co-ordinator
Our first Citizen Science events of the season proved popular. Our Raptor event ran by Brian Etheridge, previously having worked for RSPB and BTO proved popular with 11 people taking advantage of this workshop. A presentation was followed by a walk through woodland habitat looking at nests, raptors and field signs. Our other event was a slight contrast. We ran two days looking at Butterfly Recording and Monitoring as well as Moth identification. Ran by the ever popular Tom Prescott of Butterfly Conservation Scotland this workshop was fully booked and weather was ideal for spotting butterflies.
A busy first few months with lots of Footpath work. Contractors have done a fantastic job however they can only do so much and volunteers have done great work on the various paths in the Ben and Glen Nevis area. Monthly footpath work parties are topped up by awareness days for those leading people in the hills. National Trust for Scotland ran their first Thistle Camp in May and they were joined by a handful of Friends of Nevis volunteers as well as Nevis Landscape Partnerships Trainee Volunteer Rangers
Friends of Nevis Annual Dinner was well supported and all enjoyed an inspiring talk from Charlie Ramsay of Ramsay Round fame. The following day say another good turnout for an informative Guided Walk with local Historian Chris Robinson. "Views from Cow Hill - Past and Present." Another busy day was the Glen Nevis annual Spring Clean in April, up to 30 volunteers worked hard throughout the Glen to prepare the Glen for the summer visitors.
Welcome to our brand new website, what do you think? We're so happy to finally get it up and running. It's been many months in the making but we're finally here and we're pretty excited! We have strived to make information readily available and becoming a Friend of Nevis an enjoyable and user-friendly process however it's early days so please do get in touch with feedback of any kind, we need you to let us know if we've forgotten anything.
In other news we have been out and about volunteering as usual. There was an amazing turn out to the Spring Cleaning Litter Pick, thank you to all thirty of you who turned up for a clean sweep of the entire Glen. Dougie also had a handful of hardy footpath volunteers out on the lower section of Ben Nevis last weekend. The National Trust Thistle Camp will carry on with the repairs started by our volunteers all through next week.
Our next upcoming event is the June Footpath Work Party, make sure you're there for a fun day of fresh air with the Friends of Nevis.
See you soon!
Another weekend, another work party!
A big thank you to Dougie for sharing his path skills with all of our hardy volunteers, new and old, who turned up to lend a hand this weekend. We once again concentrated on clearing the drains, digging ditches and stabilising the water-bars around the bottom of the Ben Nevis footpath, near Achintee.
It was a really productive day & morale was high despite the dreich Highland climate. Ditches and water-bars really help preserve paths and what our volunteers achieved will go a long way to ensure the rain doesn't wash away the path surfacing no matter how many boots tread upon it.
If you fancy giving us a hand, check out our events page for the next volunteering days!
Friends of Nevis
The children of Lundavra Primary School have recently been learning about conservation and wanted to their bit for our environment so they came along to Glen Nevis for a day of exploring and tidying up. The day started with a little quiz to test their knowledge on what counts as litter and what doesn't then everyone headed out to pick up some of the rubbish left behind in the Glen.
As a reward for all of their hard work we treated the little litter pickers to a cosy picnic in the teepee with smores and hot chocolate before heading out for the last activity of the day, an un-natural treasure hunt. Lots and lots of fun was had by all and we hope to see the children of Primary 4/5 back soon to help us keep Glen Nevis tidy! A big thank you to Mr Ross, Ruari from Forestry Commission Scotland & Michelle, Lochaber Countryside Ranger.
Thanks for reading!
Our first footpath day of 2016 was a huge success, thank you all for coming along! Despite a chilly start to the morning and tough work on some frozen ground we think everyone had a really great time and managed to do plenty of ditch digging. We had ten folk come along to lend a hand which is an improvement on the last footpath day and we hope to see the numbers continue to grow.
Dougie was once again on hand to share his knowledge of all things path work and I managed to keep the volunteers warm with cups of tea, biscuits and a well-earned drink in the Ben Nevis Inn at the end of the day.
It's not all hard work, come along & see for yourself.
Friends of Nevis