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ACHVARASDAL WOODLAND MANAGEMENT GROUP

PAST EVENTS

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.

Sunday, 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 woodland.

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.

Nov./Dec. 2003.
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 general.