Thursday 23 April 2015

Happy High Campers

Last weekend we held our annual Carrifran Wildwood High Camp. Started originally by our old project officer Hugh Chalmers, this event has proved to be popular year on year and this time around was no exception.
The event booked up quite quickly under the title 'Scrubbing up the mountain'; no prizes for guessing that this year we were focussing on expanding our planting of montane scrub.
Before the weekend we had to get the trees up to the site. Helped by our contractor Keith Threadgall, we spent a day on the quads moving the trees and some other weekend bits and pieces into place. It was rather unnerving to be whizzing along a snow covered Carrifran Gans but with a warmer week promised by the MetOffice, we kept our nerve for the weekend.

Delivering the trees in the snow
We had a stock check of approximately 1,100 trees. Most of these were Downy Willow (Salix lapponum), some Grey Willow (Salix cinerea), a few Dark-leaved willow (Salix phylicifolia) and a few Juniper (Juniperus communis).
On the Saturday morning we had a planting army of 14 volunteers who met at the Wildwood car park. We began a leisurely walk up the valley, stopping at points to highlight some of the work our Tuesday volunteers have achieved this year.
The walk up
Once we made it to Firth Hope we set up camp and had a bite to eat before a briefing on the task ahead.
Some tents were more tricky to put up than others......
Camping in the sun!
We focussed the planting of the Downy willow along the edges of the Firth Hope and Little Firthhope burns. The rest of the trees we spread around the Firth Hope valley.

Planters on the hillsides

A freshly planted Downy willow
After a tough day on the hill and a spot of dinner some of us took a walk up to White Coombe (photos courtesy of Julian Hall, High Camp volunteer).

On day 2 we completed the rest of the planting and spent the final few hours removing some old tree guards.
We also took some time to check out the work we did at last years High Camp in Little Firthhope.
Cotton grass and sphagnum moss coming through the jute
It really was an excellent weekend with a great bunch of hard working, enthusiastic people. Bring on Carrifran Wildwood High Camp 2016 (with the same weather please).
The team!
Site Officer

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