11th Oct 2023
September Ranger Update – Goodbye Glen Nevis!
As the nights draw in, the days get shorter, and the weather gets wetter, it’s that time of year when we have to say goodbye to our wonderful Seasonal Rangers… after four fantastic months of patrols, monitoring, engagement, and extremely hard work, Ellie HH and Robbie hung up their litter pickers and cleaned off their mattocks one final time.
Our dream team have done a seriously amazing job this year; completing 116 patrols - including 5 trips to the summit of Ben Nevis - they’ve picked up 190 bags of litter from the Glen, they’ve spoken to 1238 people, and carried out 19 path maintenance days in all kinds of weather.
[Above: Robbie, Ellie, and Jenny on the Steall Path]
Patrols have taken Ellie and Robbie all around Glen Nevis, covering the lower Glen from our office in Claggan, along by Roaring Mill, and up to the Visitor Centre and Achintee. They’ve covered the area around the Youth Hostel, up the Ben and along by the Halfway Lochan towards the CIC Hut. Lower Falls Car Park has been a regular spot, with the Team maintaining the toilets and clearing up around Sheep Fanks. They have been around Polldubh and up to Steall and beyond, often with the help of John Muir Trust’s Seasonal Ranger Jenny, who has been an invaluable addition to the Nevis Ranger Team and we couldn’t have done it without her.
During these patrols, the Nevis Rangers have cleared away 15 abandoned campsites which have unfortunately been left by visitors, as well as having turned over 74 fire pits which were threatening the environment and habitats, and have valiantly cleaned up a whopping 646 toileting sites – yuck!
The Team have worked hard to keep the vital path network of Nevis in good working order for the 150,000+ visitors who walk up Ben Nevis every year. Alongside the John Muir Trust, Jahama Highland Estates, and some brilliant volunteers, every single cross drain on the Ben Nevis Mountain Path has been cleared at least once, and many at least three times over. The Steall Gorge path has also been worked on, clearing up after a landslide earlier in the season, as well as the South River Nevis path that runs up to Paddy’s Bridge.
Volunteering & Events
Over the 4 months, the Rangers have taken part in 15 volunteering and engagement events. Alongside Friends of Nevis, the Team have been up at the Halfway Lochan clearing cross drains, bracken bashing at Polldubh, and strimming at the Curling Ponds. They’ve headed to the summit of the Ben with the John Muir Trust and helped out with the Junior Rangers. They’ve also had two Ranger for a Day events of their own, where volunteers came in to help out with lepidoptera monitoring and invasive species removal, all the while learning more about what it’s like to be a part of this rewarding industry.
The Rangers have been a part of 11 different conservation days, ranging from butterfly surveys and monitoring, moth trapping, planting native Scots Pine trees on the slopes of Sgurr a Mhaim, barn owl breeding monitoring, and carrying out dragonfly surveys, herbivore impact surveys, and peatland monitoring with the John Muir Trust.
They’ve found 123 different species of butterflies and moths, including the elusive Chequered Skipper, and a rare Northern Emerald was discovered here for the first time during a dragonfly survey. 25 native Scots Pine were planted in the ground for donors from UHI North, West, and Hebrides, with thanks to Jahama Highland Estates for the planting location. And finally, a record number of 48 barn owl chicks were found in our nesting boxes in the local area.
A huge thank you to Ellie and Robbie from the NLP Ranger Team and also to a whole host of other fantastic rangers that we've been luck enough to work with this summer. As well as Jenny from the John Muir Trust, Nevis Conservation Officer Rob has joined us on conservation and volunteering days. Angus, Mark, and Emma from Jahama Highland Estates have been a great help on path and infrastructure maintenance days. Michael and Gordon from the Highland Council have helped us with litter picking and sharing important info and updates from the Glen. Lisette from Glen Nevis Holidays came along to help out on a lovely sunny butterfly survey. And Friends of Nevis have hosted lots of training and volunteer days. A massive thank you to everyone who has been a part of making this season so successful, we couldn’t have done it without you!
And of course, a huge thanks to NatureScot who funded our Ranger Team through the Better Places 4 Fund – here’s to next year and hopefully another Seasonal Ranger Team!