Tuesday, 3rd August: Treasure Hunt for children
of 8-11 years.
Mary Legg, of the North Caithness Ranger was successful with the weather
in introducing her young pirates to the booty of the woods.
Thursday, 26th August: Evening walk, looking for Moths and bats.
This was a second attempt for the Ranger Service; the event scheduled for
the week before was called off when faced with heavy rains that should
have kept any sensible bats in their roosts. Again the drizzly weather
made this event unpopular for humans, but plenty of bats and moths were
observed. We were also intrigued by a young Buzzard
calling for food.
26th September: Afternoon walk, looking for Fungi.
This time the Ranger Service was successful with the weather, turnout and
quarry. My count was nineteen hunters, including some keen youngsters. All
agreed that this was one of the mysterious Ďgood yearsí for fungi. The Fly
Agaric hadnít been seen for five years, but now was plentiful. By my
reckoning we identified 30 species, with a similar number that didnít
appear in any of our books. It would be difficult to choose favourites,
but I was particularly grateful to the keen eyes that discovered
miniatures like the Birdís nest fungus - complete with spore bearing eggs.
It was altogether a perfect way of showing off the value of such an old
Saturday 22nd May 2004:
Flowers of the Forest.
We didnít get such large numbers as for the birds, but there was no lack
of dedication. A check list of possible flowering plants was issued, and
we were invited to tick sightings of buds, flowers or seed/fruit. The
score was 60 out of 70 on the check list of species; with 21 added. The
list was somewhat arbitrary: being based on the number that would fit on
to an A4 sheet; some species were not around at the time. Nobody present
was an expert, but it was still an opportunity to pool and extend our
knowledge. All agreed that it would be worth while repeating this event at
other times of the year.
Saturday 15th May 2004
We had a good turnout for the Bird Song evening: I think it was eighteen,
if I managed to count all the quick silver youngsters. Some of our
advertising must be getting right now - take a bow Andrea. We also
had a visitor, newly arrived in the county, who was guided by this
web-site: so our notices don't just disappear into space. We didn't
get any rarities, but I for one welcomed the sorting out of the common
birds. It was amazing how quiet everybody kept, while we were straining to
hear all the performers. The main disruption came from a neighbouring herd
of cows, who seemed to be holding a pop concert. This seems the
ideal type of event for the woods, thanks to our experts. I hope Eric
wasn't too late for the wedding party that he had to get to afterwards. We
also appreciated the help from Mary Legg, with all the events that the
Rangers are arranging this month.
Work on Achvarasdal Woodlands Meeting Area.
A cold winterís day in the small Achvarasdal woodlands marked the passing
of an era. Many will remember the small wooden bungalow, which stood in a
secluded clearing near the Broch. It had been used by the Church of
Scotland for various purposes, including housing a visiting minister and
his wife. Some may recall when it was used by the Reay Play Group: gaining
the name of the Ginger Bread House. It had to be demolished in 1999,
leaving a depression where the foundations had been. The Achvarasdal
Woodland Management Committee had wanted to use the site as a meeting
place, and had linked up three footpaths to it. Scottish Natural Heritage,
the West Caithness Community Council and the Church had donated funding
for the plan. An information board and bench were made by a local
craftsman. Johnson Controls Ltd., from Dounreay donated an excavator
and driver to level up with rubble and stone, then they concreted in the
board. Finally a hard working band of the Countryside Volunteers, lead by
Mary Legg, braved the elements to put the finishing touches to the site.
This group is organised by the Highland Council Planning and Development
Ranger Service. Judging by their performance, it must be a very
effective way of losing weight. The committee is very grateful to
the funders and helpers who have made their dream come true. They trust
that the area will be well used by residents and visitors. They would
appreciate hearing of any memories about this site or the woods in