Anyone who has been on a WOW Scotland tour will know how passionate I am about our native forests (especially if you’ve been on our Glen Affric trip). So when I was offered to chance to go and help out Trees for Life for a day I jumped at the chance. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Trees for Life, they are a conservation charity which is helping preserve and indeed regenerate out native forests (sadly most of the forests in Scotland consist of non-native conifers).
The day began at 9am in Inverness where I met Mick and Colin from Trees for Life and fellow volunteer Nicki from London. We drove up to Glen Affric (one of the last bastions of the once mighty Caledonian Pine Forest) where the task for the day was repairing fenced enclosures where aspen trees had been planted and protecting saplings that were growing elsewhere in the forest. This is important work as it helps the forest regenerate and stops hungry deer from munching on the trees or using them to mark their territory by scratching (and killing) them with their antlers.
Through my work as a tour guide and mountain leader I already had extensive knowledge about Glen Affric although I learned so much from Mick and Colin who had seemingly endless amounts of knowledge and I am looking forward to using this new information on my tours. In addition to the aspens, we also protected rowan, oak and hazel trees and learned about the evils of bracken (I am now an ardent bracken brasher – they prevent new trees from growing!). We even got to plant some trees and I am hopefully going to do more to help by popping in in summer during our hiking tours to check up on the enclosures and making sure they are clear of bracken.
If you want to find out more about the valuable work Trees for Life do check out their website. They rely heavily on donations for the work they do so if you don’t get a chance to go and help you could also give them a few pounds to help them with their work!