Today saw the first Friends of Nevis volunteer work party since lock-down began in March. Friends of Nevis volunteer regulars Ali and Paul (pictured below) turned out to help 'bracken bash' in the Future Forests planting exclosures in Glen Nevis. As you can see it was an overcast and midgey start but after a short while the sun burned its way through and chased them away. Two more exclosures were cleared of bracken, giving the mix of Oak, Hazel, Rowan, Aspen and Scots Pine planted in them a helping hand.
A big thanks to Ali and Paul for their efforts today!
Why not check out the events page and sign up for the next volunteer work party on Saturday 5th September?
Volunteer Events Update from Rory Stewart, Volunteer Coordinator
With Scotland currently in 'Phase 3' of its Covid-19 response it is now possible for limited volunteer activities to resume, albeit with some special measures to safeguard and support staff, volunteers and the general public.
I have recently collaborated with Nathan Berrie (pictured above), from the John Muir Trust Ben Nevis team, to run a series of trial volunteer work parties with small groups of local volunteers. These have proved very successful and have provided an opportunity to get some 'local heroes' back out into the Glen and up the Ben, to help with vital work.
After consulting with Joy Biggin, Chair of Friends of Nevis Trustees, we are posting Friends of Nevis Volunteer Work Party dates onto the calendar for the 12th August, 5th September, 3rd October. These will be tackling core tasks such as bracken bashing, path maintenance and clearing litter.
There are some important features of the work parties to be aware of:
The Friends of Nevis AGM is scheduled for Friday October 30th. We have a guest speaker and venue provisionally booked.
It is very likely that the format of this year's event will be different than previous years so watch this space for more details.
Autumn Litter Pick
The 2020 Glen Nevis Autumn Litter Pick is scheduled for Sunday 22nd November. Details of arrangements will be available nearer the date.
In support of the current restrictions in place to combat the spread of Corona Virus Friends of Nevis are postponing all events and work parties until further notice.
This includes the April litter pick.
Once the situation has eased and restrictions on movement have been lifted we will reschedule a litter pick, path work-parties and conservation work-parties.
We are also hoping to reschedule the Bumble-bee workshop although this may not happen until 2021
Stay safe and well!
Thank you to everyone who has given up their time to volunteer for Friends of Nevis this year.
A special mention must go out to Helen and Steve, work colleagues, who have been travelling up 2-3 times a year from Kent. This was their 10th year of helping Friends of Nevis. It’s always great to see them and hear how they got on travelling up from Kent by bus and train. Their journeys very rarely go smoothly but that does not stop them getting out into Glen Nevis or up the Ben, volunteering their time. Some of the jobs Helen and Steve have got up to include clearing drains on various parts of the Ben, putting in picnic benches at the curling pond, helping sell raffle tickets, tidying up the curling pond dressing up as Caledonian Challenge Hiking Hound mascot to managing our Facebook page. When they were recently up for the AGM it was a pleasure to go clearing drains on the Ben path with Helen and Steve. From Friends of Nevis thank you Helen and Steve!
All the best for 2020. Cheerie Kirstie
St Andrews day dawned bright and very chilly but 4 hardy volunteers, Elizabeth; Ali; Damien and Giles turned up to help Rory plant some more Scots Pine and some native Holly in one of our Glen Nevis Future Forests exclosures. Despite the frosty weather the soil was not frozen and around 100 Scots Pine and 15 Holly were planted. The ground in the exclosure was steep and bouldery so finding a spot with deep enough soil was a challenge at times.
Looking around however we could see remnant veteran and ancient Scots Pine still clinging on the steeper terrain and crags in the glen. These are 'Granny Pines' that supplied the seed for our pine seedlings. At one time these trees would have been more widespread but a mixture of historic felling for timber and charcoal combined with continued grazing pressure from deer and sheep has suppressed regeneration. The Scots Pine woodland is listed as a feature of the Nevis Special Area of Conservation / SSSI and is classed as being in 'unfavourable' condition, in part due to the lack of regeneration.
As well as being an important part of the management plan for improving the condition of the Pinewood, planting the right trees, in the right place, is now being recognized as one of the tools of fighting back against climate change.
December dates for the Diary
Wednesday 11th December: Toolshed day, Mattocks and Mince Pies. Drop in and help with an end of season tools clean up, service and tlc. Festive treats supplied.
Sunday 15th December: Bird Ringing at Glen Nevis Visitor Centre, drop in event from around 9am to 3pm. Drop in to see our feathered friends close up and chat to John and Kirstie, BTO licensed bird ringers.
Annual General Meeting
November got off to a good start with the AGM being held on Friday 1st. There was a good turn out and reports were heard from directors Joy (Chair) and Stephen (Treasurer). Kirstie Ross also gave an account of Bird Ringing results. Kirsty has been training to be a BTO licenced Bird Ringer and this year gained her C licence. She gave an interesting account of ringing results to date and also where birds initially ringed in Glen Nevis have been recovered.
Star attraction was local climber Helen Rennard talking about her Scottish Winter exploits. Always down to earth and often very amusing, Helen's accounts of her climbing included a winter traverse of the Ramsay round within 24 hours, ascents of some of the hardest Scottish mixed winter routes in the area and......a missing hamster. Her ability to interweave the story of the latter into a climbing context was a feat in itself!
Helen is the subject of one of the 'Nevis Faces', a series of documentary films shot by Dave and Claire MacLeod, see the YouTube clip inserted below:
Autumn Litter Pick
Friends of Nevis held its Autumn Litter Pick and Curling Ponds tidy up on Sunday 17th November. A big thankyou to all the many volunteers who took part, it was great to have so many helpers of all ages, some who had come a long way for the event. A special thanks too go to Fiona McSorland , Joy, Paul, and Hughie who organised the day.
Litter was cleared from as much of the Glen as possible. This included a large amount of camping equipment, which had been abandoned after use. Sadly this is becoming an increasing problem in the Glen and at other sites in the Highlands. With help from two members of the Curling Club, the Ponds area was tidied, leaves raked up and the main Pond prepared for possible winter use. FoN wants to thank the Ben Nevis Highland Centre, who once again hosted the start of the event.
Lunchtime gathering of Litter Pickers below
Upcoming events for November & December
Go to our events page to sign up for upcoming events in November, December and events for next year
Saturday 30th November Tree Planting in Glen Nevis
Saturday 7th December Birch Halo Thinning in Scots Pine Exclosure
Wednesday 11th December Christmas Tool Clean and Festive Munchies
The curling pond is looking much better after a group of 10 volunteers did their bit.
Hughie made an interesting discovery today at the curling pond. Is it a cannon ball?
Friends of Nevis volunteer Ali Stewart has nominated one of the Future Forest's Scots pine in Glen Nevis for the Woodland Trust's annual Tree of the Year competition. The story behind the tree is great: the seed gathered from veteran Scots pine growing on the crags of the south side of the glen, then sown and raised by local groups and planted by school pupils from Fort William. Who knows what its life will see and hold.
Please go to the site below to support our tree or search for Tree of the Year Scotland 2019.
Friends of Nevis volunteer with our Tree of the Year nomination
Upcoming events for the diary
For more details go to the Events page
(Dates all subject to weather conditions)
Patrick and Lindsay Nevis at Dun Deardail hill fort
Patrick and Lindsay Nevis who live in California, have supported Friends of Nevis for a number of years. They were visiting the Lochaber area this week and it was a great opportunity to meet up with them to say thank you for their support and show them around some of the projects that Friends of Nevis volunteers have worked on including footpaths, Future Forests and Dun Deardail. Hopefully they can recruit some more international Friends of Nevis when they return to America!
Over the last couple of years BTO licenced bird ringer John Owen has been running bird ringing events at Glen Nevis Visitor Centre. He has done this together with a group of trainee ringers, include Friends of Nevis Volunteer Kirstie Ross, who gained her C licence earlier this year, well done Kirstie! Kirstie has provided a summary of this year's work:
"We've managed ringing in February, March, May, July and August. Siskin and Chaffinch are the birds we ring the most.
The Siskin we are catching in Glen Nevis are proving to be exciting travellers. Two birds we caught that already had rings on them turned out to have travelled from Aberdeenshire and Callender. A male Siskin we ringed, travelled 606km (377 miles) all the way down to Thetford Norfolk where another ringing group caught it. We also caught a Coal Tit ringed in the Glen by another Bird ringer which is 3 years old. This is quite old for a little bird.
This year we've caught a few new species - Song Thrush, Common Gull, Pied Wagtail, Bullfinch and Willow Warbler.
Our August event was maybe a bit too hot, too sunny and probably too much natural food about as we only caught 19 new birds and retrapped 5 previously ringed birds. It was nice to see a Goldcrest and 2 Wrens as well as a Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
Thank you to everyone who comes along and takes an interest. It's great for us to hear your bird watching stories."
Watch this space for dates for more ringing events running this year together with volunteer work parties
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