Synchronised raking and beaver hunting: Taynish residential September 2012

2013/01/01

This year's autumn residential trip was to a site new for me, but for many other LCV members it is a well-loved one: Taynish National Nature Reserve. If you haven't been before, Taynish lies in part of the grounds of an old estate in Argyll and has wonderful views out onto Linne Mhuinch and Loch Sween. Scottish National Heritage Ranger Gordon was a wonderful guide to the site and its surroundings, including a rebuilt piggery - sadly lacking pigs at present.

Although it was a longish drive from Edinburgh, the fish supper stop in Balloch broke the journey nicely and allowed a change of drivers. Saturday saw us on the site in glorious, warm sunshine for our task of meadow raking. It was fun being driven up and down to the grass heaps in the mini-truck, which happily saved a lot of grass bag dragging. In the evening we were able to delve into the Knapdale forest to see the beaver lodge. I'm afraid I have been wrongly influenced by TV and the lodge was actually an extremely well-engineered dam, not the random pile of branches I had been anticipating. Sadly, we didn't see any beavers, but apparently they are very shy and nine LCVers tramping about probably did not make for the stealthiest of approaches.

Sunday brought more grass raking, unfortunately in the rain towards the end of the day, but this didn't dampen our spirits too much. Supper was in the beautiful Lochgilphead before heading for home.

If you've not yet been to that part of the West coast, maybe pay a visit in the summer before the meadow raking commences. That way you might get to see the wild flowers and butterflies that the raking is helping to conserve.

The task was led by Debbie Tribak, catered for by Trevor Paterson, and Willie McSporran and yours truly drove the minibus. Thanks to all for a great weekend.

LCV raking like there's no tomorrow (credit: Louisa Martin)

LCV raking like there's no tomorrow (credit: Louisa Martin)

LCV still raking (credit: Louisa Martin)

LCV still raking (credit: Louisa Martin)

Simon rakes... (credit: Louisa Martin)

Simon rakes... (credit: Louisa Martin)

...prior to loading the trailer with Willie and Gordon (credit: Louisa Martin)

...prior to loading the trailer with Willie and Gordon (credit: Louisa Martin)