Aug 27 2021

Ancient Tree Hunting In Wester Ross

The Trust’s Malcolm Turner and Caz Austen from Ben Shieldaig, Tom Reed of Citizen Science and outreach advisor Alan Crawford collaborated with Wester Ross Biosphere and NatureScot to co-ordinate some training in ancient trees in Wester Ross last week.


Ancient Trees are hugely under-recorded in the Highlands and there are some fantastic examples across Scotland’s rainforest zone. The aim of this collaboration was to equip some enthusiastic tree lovers from Wester Ross with the tools they need to help us find out more about ancient trees in the area.


The training was a hybrid of online and face to face. An introduction to the Ancient Tree Inventory, recording ancient trees and the types of trees in Wester Ross, led by Tom Reed and Alan Crawford, took place via Zoom. This was followed up with a field session at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve on the 21st where Alan came along and wowed the audience with his fantastic knowledge!


The team managed to get a good quantity of new records as well as seeing some magnificent fungi before breaking for lunch and a chat.


In the afternoon the heavens opened, but not to be deterred, our keen group of fledgling recorders headed out along the shore of Loch Maree to see if they could find anything to record. In these inhospitable conditions we came across some new species and interesting forms, including grey willow, holly and rowan. By now it was time to dry off and head home, but not before the obligatory group photo, a very cheery bunch!

Keep an eye on the Ancient Tree Inventory to see all the additional records appearing from our new group of recorders. We are hoping to keep up the momentum by having regular meetings in some of the woods around the area. We also have another opportunity in a couple of weeks when Jill Donnachie is organising a recording weekend for ATI volunteers at Dundonnell Estate and Ben Shieldaig.

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