Six Friends of Nevis Volunteers at Braveheart
15 Volunteers turned out to help with the Friends of Nevis Autumn Litter Pick and Curling Ponds clear up on Sunday 21st November, organised and led by Joy and Hughie. After an initial briefing volunteers split into smaller teams and covered the Glen from the Curling Ponds all the way up to the Upper Falls Car Park and also included Roaring Mill and the 'Heart Attack' Several bags of rubbish, fly tipped tarps and several glass bottles were cleared up. The levels of litter were not as much as in previous years, thanks in part to litter picks by NLP Rangers, JMT staff and Friends of Nevis Volunteers through the busy summer season. Notable this year was some fly tipping at Sheep Fank near Lower Falls and roadside debris from a car fire / crash near Braveheart entrance. Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped!
Above: Close up of a male Goldfinch.
Mild and settled conditions on Saturday 13th November enabled BTO licenced bird ringers Kirsty and John to set up and run another of their popular drop in Bird Ringing sessions.
When I came by in the late morning they had already had over 70 birds, quite a number of which were birds they had previously rung in previous years, including this handsome young male Goldfinch pictured above. This bird had been originally rung by the team in 2018, making it 3 years old, which is good longevity for a wild bird. By the end of the day they had recorded 88 new birds and 37 're-traps'. Species included Blue, Coal and Great Tits; Siskins; House Sparrow; Dunnock; Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and a Great - Spotted Woodpecker.
If you have never seen wild birds close up it is well worth dropping in on one of their sessions both to see the birds and also learn about them from John and Kirsty who have a wealth of avian knowledge. Information regards the size, weight, sex and age of the birds is recorded and added to national records that inform our knowledge of the population size and spread of the various species. Each bird is given a special ring on its leg with a unique code so that if it is ever re-caught it can be identified and information regards age and dispersion can be learned. Fitting the rings is delicate work and it takes many years for ringers to get their licenses. The next drop in session will be on Saturday 11th December, put the date in your diary!
Above Left: Fitting the correct sized ring on a young male Chaffinch's leg. Above Right: Accurately measuring primary feather length of a Goldfinch
Friends of Nevis AGM Friday 29th October
Due to continuing uncertainty about holding the AGM indoors, this years AGM was carried out online using the Nevis Landscape Partnership's Zoom account. Approximately 24 people attended including faithful volunteers, Helen and Steve from Kent, who had stayed in one of the Glamping Pods at Glen Nevis Holidays. During their stay they kindly helped Rory and the Seasonal Ranger team remove two unused owl boxes and poles from Leanachan Forest.
The usual AGM business was carried out including a Directors Report and Treasurers report followed by election of office bearers. This year our guest speaker was Jonathan Hart, Liaison Officer form Jahama Highland Estates. Jonathan's talk gave an insight into Jahama's complex and varied operation which stretches from Spey Dam, Glen Shero and Laggan in the east to Kinlochleven in the west (including of course Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis) together with the challenges and opportunities that it brings.
Friends of Nevis Pathwork Party 06 Nov 2021
After the morning's gales and rain the sun almost came out!
Despite gale force winds and horizontal rain four hardy volunteers ventured out for a day of cross drain clearing and path maintenance. As Kirsty, one of the Friends of Nevis volunteer trustees and long time volunteer put it: 'its great weather for clearing drains'.
Our first focus was to work on the link path leading from the Riverside Path up to Achintee. The cross drains on this section fill in fairly quickly but some excellent work from the Nevis Landscape Partnership Seasonal rangers earlier in the summer meant they weren't too bad and we were finished this section just after 11.30.
After stopping off to fill bird feeders at the Visitor Centre in preparation for next weeks Bird Ringing, we headed on to Lower Falls and the path to Paddies Bridge. By this time the rain bearing occluded front had passed over us and the rain eased off..blue sky was even spotted. Spectacular views of streams cascading off the flanks of the Ben and the Mamores was had. Looking down to the river also gave views of a group of kayakers negotiating the white water rapids of the upper Nevis from Steall and over Lower falls
Regular Friends of Nevis Volunteer Kirsty and new Volunteer Matthew; Bria our four legged volunteer helps with digging out a silt trap
Volunteers Calum and Jenny in action
Dates for the Diary
It has been a busy summer in the Glen and Friends of Nevis volunteers have been giving their time to ensure that it is still looking good, both for visitors and biodiversity. This has included several Monday Morning Litter Picks, clearing up after busy weekends in the lower Glen, bracken bashing in the Nevis Landscape Partnership Future Forests tree enclosures at Polldubh and removing invasive American Skunk Cabbage from the site of the Old Studio at Achriabhach. On the latter event we were also glad to have the support of Matt Bradley and Ali Tait from the Highland Council Ranger Team. More recently the Nevis Landscape Partnership seasonal ranger team have organised some engagement events in the Glen including a herbal forage led by Claire Holohan, author of Scotland's Wild Medicine and a Fabulous Fungi Foray with Liz Holden, one of the UK's leading Filed Mycologists. Friends of Nevis Trustee Kirsty Ross and her fellow BTO licenced bird ringer John Owen resumed their popular drop in Bird Ringing events with a highly successful session on Sunday 11th September, ringing over 80 birds and attracting several visitors.
Left: Field Mycologist Liz Holden leading Fungi Foray; Right: Licensed Ringer recording biometric data during bird ringing session.
Dates for the diary
If you want more details or wish to sign up pop over to our events page!
In August and September, we are planning two work parties per month, tackling essential tasks in Glen Nevis and on the Ben such as footpath maintenance and bracken bashing in our Future Forests tree exclosures. Events will be led by Rory and or one of our NLP Seasonal Ranger team. If you want to join in for a day of healthy outdoor exercise doing some essential conservation work then pop over to our events page to check dates and sign up. In addition in August we will be running our popular Monday Morning Litter Picks. Great for a morning's walk, chat and litter pick on paths in the lower Glen and helping keep the Glen clean and tidy during the busy summer period.
Friends of Nevis Volunteer Bianca getting stuck into a cross drain on the Allt a Mhuilinn path
Following on from our successful Spring Litter Pick on the 9th of May the following volunteer events have been put on the calendar for this summer:
On Sunday 9thMay Friends of Nevis held a very successful and well attended Spring Litter Pick in the Glen. A large team of volunteers split into smaller groups and checked the paths and all the usual places from the Curling Ponds up to Upper Falls Car Park (Steall). Over 30 bags of litter and rubbish were removed during the day. A significant portion of the rubbish was from makeshift camps and tarps abandoned in the woods, probably dating back to last year. Many thanks to all who volunteered and to Joy for organising!
As a result of the planned lifting of restrictions regarding meeting outdoors and travelling Friends of Nevis are planning to resume volunteer activities from May
Our first event on Sunday 9th of May will be the postponed annual spring litter pick in the Glen.
There may still be ongoing limits of numbers, requirements to maintain physical distancing and also maintain records of attendance for Track and Trace purposes, which we will brief participants on accordingly.
For further details have a look at our events page
Friends of Nevis have been saddened to learn of the death of Libby Williamson.
Libby, an active and well-known member of the local community, joined the Friends of Nevis a number of years ago. A keen walker and member of a number of local community groups, she was one of the ‘stalwarts’ of the organisation, regularly attending volunteer and member events.
She will be greatly missed by Friends of Nevis and all of her friends. The photo shows her at one of the Autumn Litter Picks in Glen Nevis, a couple of years ago.
Due to the current Covid related restrictions in place for travel and meeting, we have cancelled Volunteer Events scheduled for January and February and March. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope that after Easter we will be able to resume activities.
In the meantime, many thanks to our members and friends for their continued support during these challenging times.
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