As with this job you end up in parts of the woods you wouldn’t normally go, or just the fact we are out exploring different parts of the island all the time you come across some exciting and interesting things…..
Rare Butterfly Orchids, stunning egg shell, munched hazel nuts, delicate Herb Robert, cool lichen to feathers on a branch to unbeatable sunsets…
Drying work gloves, Shield bug mama and babies all squeezed onto a Birch leaf(!) a wasps nest with a bramble going right through the middle and an impaled Rowan berry!
July has been a fine mixture of bridge making, path maintenance, stone work, helping some kids achieve their next steps within the Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS), Shorewatch training, initial site surveys for further peatland restoration project, training on tree seed collection, butterfly transect, bird survey’s, Sycamore removals, helping Gillian with the bugs and butterfly event, path clearance, helping out at Earth Connections Centre, clearing bracken in the community orchard, recycling rubbish after the Howlin Fling Festival and helping out on a farm! Who says volunteering on Eigg wouldn’t be full of diversity and variability….
Beach Bridge! Saves having to do the long jump when doing the beach circuit or accessing the beach from the Laig Farm side. It was reported on more than one occasion this year that the jump was getting to big for some and a few found themselves having an impromptu dip in the stream!!
Assistance from two Grandsons of an Eigg family achieving some of their JASS targets. They helped us plant some Magnolia trees, very kindly gifted to the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust from the Booth’s.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) training days.
Sorting an incredibly muddy section to the path we call the ‘Old Cart Road’ running through the woodland behind the community hall. We re-used some rubble from the remains of the very old volunteer house. A fine bit of recycling! We also had to fight off a LOT of midges the day before when digging was necessary in the bog on a still day, really we were asking for a midge attack in hindsight!! Day two was far more pleasant with sunshine, a breeze and could even stand still to pose for a photo without getting eaten alive!
Next up was helping Wes build a structure to display the Geopark interpretation panel. Pretty impressive all in a days work! It was getting very ‘experimental art’ when we had an old chair, a fence post and a metal ring as part of our guide to work to and did attract some very dubious looks from the passers by… but it all worked out in the end even though none of us really knew what was being built until it was finished. We had believed that Wes knew what he was doing but even he admitted at the end that he was making it up as we went along. Pretty good result for experimental stone art I’d say!!
A very hungry bunch of volunteers after a very wet morning of bracken bashing around the fruit trees in the community orchard! A bit of a change in weather from tropical climates of the day before!!
Wow, can’t believe two months has gone by since the last update..sorry about that! Since the last update we have been very busy with preparations for the 20th Buyout Anniversary celebrations that included many days painting inside and out of our community hall, cleaning and grafting away on the surrounding area to make it ready to host a week of events from the 12th of June. We had an exhibition of 20yrs of projects, slide shows, newspaper collections following the buyout story along with incredibly inspiring people power talks from Alastair McIntosh and Maggie Fyffe covering the trials, tribulations and personal memories of the buyout story. A very special time years ago and a chance to remember and acknowledge the worldwide support that were received throughout that time. It is also very important time to reflect and recognise the ethos behind the community buyout and ensure the future continues not wavering to far from the track! All serious things should be completed with a good ceilidh, which of course we did on the 17th in style!
Back to work we went after all the fun and frolics, it was unanimous with the full volunteer team how wonderful it was to be working away from the community hall… as we moved onto catching up on path clearance as our eye was off the ball and looking at other things everywhere seemed to grow metres high and of course the bracken starts to take over! We spent the rest of the month concentrating on clearing paths, with the route around the Community Orchard and then skirting the edges of the manse woods. We also cleared the main forestry path.
And for a bit of a change of scenery from bracken and brambles we worked away at removing sycamore that is trying to smother out Hazel trees in various areas of the Manse Woods with help from the SWT warden Gillian and her volunteers.