Pathminders’ Summer BBQ at Doonbank

Well – the Swaines sure know how to lay on a BBQ! The sun shone, the wine and beer flowed like the Doon, the chat was excellent, the food was amazing, the quiz was long (only to be expected from John D) but great fun and…………everyone behaved! It was a day to remember so thanks to everyone who helped make it possible, but especially to Chris and Susan who were up at the crack of dawn to prepare scrumptious salads, deserts etc and set up the garden (with Bob’s help) for all our enjoyment. the hosts the boys who said hot dogs ? full swing the bairn relaxed host the girls Susan calls time this one’s on me man talk garden time BBQ Bob cheers any more wine ? all good pals the party 3 salad days the cottage the walking wounded the party BBQ Bob 2 the Ireland...

Tick Talk

The sun shone at Drumshang on a lovely hot summer’s day as the ACP team arrived armed with all the implements necessary for a morning of snedding, strimming and mowing. The most important implement of all however was also the smallest! As the team tore into the undergrowth so clouds of insects rose along with the grasses and dust. Clegs were the most obvious nuisance but other, less obvious insects were also about and these included the dreaded tick. As far as is known, the only casualty was yours truly, who found one on his inner arm the following day. This was swiftly and easily removed with a tick-pick (see photo) and each work party leader will have one or two of these in his or her first-aid kit. Tick bites can, in exceptional cases lead to the potentially serious Lyme disease so it is worth reinforcing the simple safety measures to avoid and/or deal with tic bites: Wear appropriate clothing to cover as much flesh as possible – long trousers, sleeves and socksOn returning home, before or during showering, inspect your body for ticks which may be embedded. These are identifiable as tiny, raised, black dots which you can feel if you brush your hand across the area. A magnifying glass will allow confident identification.Remove the tick using the tick-pick in the correct manner. Slide the forked end of the pick underneath the body of the tick (its head is under your skin) and twist to remove the whole tick cleanly.Apply an antiseptic to the affected area.Over the next few weeks, be aware of the (remote) possibility of...

Beach Clean Post-Script

Just a couple of months after the big beach clean it was necesssary to revisit the shore at Chapeldonan where recent farming activity had exposed years of accumulated rubbish which had been buried beneath the wind-blown sand. A small team comprising Ron, Di, Gus and Bob (George), with later car and trailer assistance from Jimmy, filled 25 bags and collected larger material equivalent to another 5 bags – and that got the job only half-done! Back next week hopefully to finish it and help to return this lovely section of path to its previous natural...

Balkenna Bridge Open

Good work last week saw the bridge and approach paths virtually completed and the bridge can now be considered fully operational. This was a great project, expertly designed and constructed to resist all that nature can throw at it in the way of winter storms and high tides – and at a cost of only £550, but with a lot of sweat and blood from the pathminders. Well done everyone involved – no need for walkers to get wet feet anymore. The finishing...

Celebrating 10 Years of the IAT

This week we welcomed a group of Americans and Canadians who were in Scotland to mark the 10th anniversary of the first International Appalachian Trail (IAT) visit to the UK and Ireland. It was almost 10 years to the day that an IAT delegation from Maine and Newfoundland, Labrador, travelled to Scotland to hold exploratory meetings with representatives of the British Geological Survey, local trail organisations, Lochaber Geopark officials, and government representatives, on the possibility of Scotland becoming a European chapter of the IAT. This became a reality a year later when Scotland and the West Highland Way were welcomed as the first European chapter of the IAT. Later that same year, the ACP was invited to be part of the trail and is now an important link in series of long-distance trails from the west of Ireland, up the coastline of the Firth of Clyde to the WHW and Great Glen Way, north to Cape Wrath and eastwards to John o’ Groats, Orkney and Shetland before crossing to Norway. The group were led by IAT Chairperson, Paul Wylezol,, who was instrumental in establishing the  IAT and who continues to be active in its expansion and its connection to Global Geoparks. Some members of the group are keen geologists (both amateur and professional) so, courtesy of Hugh Barron of the British Geological Survey (who was also keenly involved in the original visit) the group have been visiting Scottish sites of geological importance. On the day, two major geological exposures were visited – one man-made (the massive opencast coal site, Spireslack at Glenbuck) and the other an untarnished product of nature – our very own...
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