This weekend I was away with the National Trust for a weekend of destruction, all in name of conservation. We were off to one of our favourite spots, Threave in Dumfries and Galloway in SW Scotland. Part of the estate includes Rockcliffe, a beautiful coastal landscape which overlooks the Solway Firth and this was where we were working this weekend. It is home to an array of birdlife, including the entire population of barnacle geese from Svalbard which winter here.
We were clearing footpaths along the coast and around the Mote of Mark, a dark age hilltop fort occupied during the 6th and 7th century and Muckle Hill. This involved removing a lot of prickly bushes from brambles, to blackthorn to holly - ouch! We learned about the correct way to prune trees to ensure the tree heals effectively and that it's best not to sit on a blackthorn branch!
Atop the muckle March 2010
Whilst we were lucky with the weather i.e it didn't rain, it wasn't quite as glorious as it was when we visited last May. I've put a couple of photos together for comparison!
Perfect lunch spot - May 2009
A top the muckle May 2009
But it was certainly warmer than when we were hedge laying on the Threave Estate in January 2009! We went back to look at our hedge and see the growth progress since it was laid, it was quite impressive and you could see why they make such effective barriers for livestock.
The hedge, laid in January 2009
The hedge in March 2010