This is the 2021 Countryside Skills and Ranger Training Course, being run by West Highland College / UHI and The Nevis Landscape Partnership, in conjunction with the John Muir Trust, Woodland Trust Scotland and Jahama Highland Estates.
As part of our course, we are completing the John Muir Explorer Award: Discovering new places, Exploring them and Conserving them. This is our Share, for the final part of the award, celebrating what we have achieved during our 18 weeks.
Our course started in January so lockdown meant that no practical work could be done at that point and the course was conducted online. We learned about the John Muir Award and also about John Muir as well. Some of us did some mini discovering and exploring in our own neighborhoods and shared that amongst the course but it was a huge relief at the start of March when we were allowed to start outdoor practical training. Here we are (socially distanced!!) on our first week at Achriabhach in Glen Nevis, getting ready to do battle with some invasives (Rhododendron ponticum)
During the course we visited, discovered, explored and conserved in and on Glen Nevis, The Ben Nevis Mountain Path, The Allt a Mhuilinn, Upper Glen Nevis and Steall and the ancient Pinewoods of Glen Mallie, Loch Arkaig. Some of the team explored further afield outside the course including the rugged coastline of the sound of Arisaig, the high tops of the Mamores and also an Eagles nesting site in Argyll.
We hoped to team up with the new John Muir Junior Rangers or the local Scouts to do a share in person at the ends of the course but continuing lockdown restrictions haven’t allowed that. Instead we have written some personal pieces to share our highlights of our time here, enjoy!