21st Aug 2023
July Ranger Update - Variety & Volunteers!
Time seems to be passing quickly this summer… we are already halfway through our time as seasonal rangers! We’ve been busy with patrols; removing litter all around the Glen and, much to the despair of my legs, the summit of the Ben, as well as various conservation and maintenance tasks.
Patrols and... poo
During our daily patrols we have collected more than 28 bin bags of litter in July as well as working to keep the paths around the Glen looking nice, tidy, and clean which has not been an easy task at times due to extreme rainfall and multiple landslides.
In addition to our routine patrols, we have also spent time assisting the John Muir Trust with their litter picks on the upper portion of the Ben Nevis path and summit plateau. In our most recent clean, some keen (and much fitter that I) volunteers, along with ourselves and JMT managed to clear 45kg of rubbish from the Ben in addition to a previous 33kg from earlier in July.
Cleaning the Ben can feel like a never-ending task at times, especially with the vast numbers of visitors making an impact up there, but this effort has definitely made a significant difference and the achy knees have been worthwhile. We also bravely attempted clearing the dreaded poo rock by the Halfway Lochan, which could be described as an extreme multisensory experience to say the least… Leave No Trace folks!
Monitoring - a new sport?
It’s not all grub and grime though; we have had some amazing days out completing butterfly, dragonfly and peatland monitoring. This season has enlightened me to the fact that both dragonfly and butterfly surveying could easily be made into hugely successful spectator sports, as demonstrated by the numerous tourists and walkers who enjoyed laughing at me and my fellow rangers running and (more accurately,) falling around wet bogs with silly nets in our hands, loudly exclaiming at the capture of some colourful or rare creature.
The height of the summer has also involved removing some height from the seas of bracken that threaten to shade out young trees up the Glen. We were joined by some adventurous students from the Wilderness Foundation Haberdasher’s School on one particular day where they helped us clear a section of path up to Paddy’s Bridge, by cutting back the encroaching foliage and emptying the cross drains.
To add to the variety, Robbie spent an enjoyable afternoon on the slopes of Sgurr a Mhaim with Engagement Ranger Ellie and JMT Seaonal Ranger Jenny, planting some native Scots Pine for donators from UHI. A big thanks to Jahama for providing the planting exclosure! Hopefully these wee trees will be towering over the Glen in years to come.
Friends of Nevis Fun
Lastly, we’ve had some fun collaborating with Friends of Nevis on training and work parties this month. Clare Holohan of West Highland Herbal came in and ran a brilliant and informative day on foraging for herbs in the Highlands for Friends of Nevis, and spent the afternoon teaching us how to turn our finds into remedies – we were incredibly grateful for the homemade midge bite ointment that we all went home with! We also helped out with the annual Friends of Nevis Curling Ponds clear up, which turned out to be a hugely successful, if rather soggy day! You can read more about these events on the Friends of Nevis website here.
We have plenty more events and work parties coming up over the next few weeks! If you’d like to get involved, check out our events page here!
It wouldn’t be possible to do the work we do without the help of locals and visitors making donations and contributing to our conservation efforts – if you can’t make it along to our volunteering days but still want to help out, you can donate to Nevis Landscape Partnership below!
Our ranger team project is supported by NatureScot, through the Better Places Fund.