by Heather Burnett, Trainee Solicitor
Earlier this summer, a group of enthusiastic volunteers from across the Firm headed for the Highlands to lend a hand at RSPB Scotland's Corrimony Reserve. Corrimony is located near the village of Cannich, around 30 minutes from Drumnadrochit, Invernessshire. The reserve combines large portions of open moorland with mature forest and is renowned as a nesting site for Black Grouse.
Our task for the weekend was"ring barking", the process of taking a ring of bark from a tree to expose the hardwood underneath, meaning that the tree dies gradually, creating a standing deadwood habitat for birds, insects and other wildlife. After a brief demonstration and under the watchful eye of the Reserve Manager, we were pointed in the direction of the trees we were to target, and set to work. We soon got the hang of it, and were impressed with our efforts when a tally of ring barked trees was taken over lunch. In the afternoon, some of the group were let loose on non-native sitka spruce trees with bow saws, while the others continued with the ring barking project.
On Sunday morning we travelled to another part of the reserve where the Beauly-Denny power line, which begins nearby, crosses the edge of the reserve. We heard how RSPB Scotland had, with the assistance of Turcan Connell, successfully negotiated concessions to ensure that the works were carried out with the minimum disturbance to wildlife, and that the site was, in so far as possible, restored following the works. It was interesting to witness how the legal work carried out far from the site in Edinburgh had impacted directly and positively on the practical side of the project, both whilst the works were ongoing and in the years following. Another hour or so of ring barking followed, although this time (perhaps due to our aching muscles) the trees put up more of a fight!
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