Glen Tanar NNR Volunteering

One of the regular activities we have as part of our Rural Skills club is volunteering at Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve. I’ve only been twice but plan on going as often as I can from now on.

Last time I was there we helped clear paths and did some high level pruning (here’s the post I did covering that) and this time we did more work on the paths, only we were actually fixing the paths due to the recent flooding that had shifted a bridge, washed away a section of path, and made a few sections quite boggy.

First good bit of the day though, I woke up before my alarm! Have to cherish these moments, it means there is hope…


I hitched a lift with Alan, one of the other volunteers with the John Muir Trust work party. When we arrived there was 8 of us, plus Eric and Mike, the rangers at Glen Tanar. Once we’d all got the tools together and Mike had brought us a nice truck load of dirt, we headed off along the riverside path to a spot that needed some maintenance.

We actually stopped first at a wee bridge that had sort of floated off it’s supports in the flooding, and had rested back down in the wrong position. A wee bit of shoving and shunting, and it was good as new.

Onwards along the path, we realised it would be quite a distance to come with a full barrow of dirt. The truck was moved closer, and we began work on this wee section.

Me being me, I got distracted from the task at hand a few times… A Buzzard went over (no eagles), a few Pheasants were about by the roads (no Capercailles), a Siskin was in an Alder by the river (no Crossbills), and a couple Dippers went up and down the river (no Penguins). There’s also a load of lichen everywhere but I only photographed these common species…

Parmelia saxatilis and Pseudevernia furfuracea, both very common in the area
Ice crystals

Right, here are the finished results of a day’s labour! Plenty wheelbarrow-loads of dirt, lots of stamping and shovelling, and a great day out in the fresh air.

We pretty much resurfaced the whole area, put in a couple of drainage channels so as to let run-off from the fields get to the river without running down the path, and filled in that big chunk that was missing when we arrived. A good job well done, even Mike and Eric agreed!

One last thing, I also noticed the height of the debris in the trees along the river bank and most of it was around my shoulder height (I’m 6ft)! That’s a lot of water to be flowing towards Aberdeen and into various bridges. In fact the bridge at Aboyne was shut so we had to go around that.

Debris in the branches

I think next time we’re at Glen Tanar we’re going to be (hopefully) getting rid of some Rhododendrons, maybe cleaning out some drainage pipes that go below the paths, and some more general path maintenance plus whatever appears to need done between now and then!

In other news, my hand lens may have arrived, but I won’t be able to get it until Monday 😦 Nevertheless, I think I’ll head out for spiders again tomorrow…

Glen Tanar NNR Volunteering

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