I am filling the new River Ranger post with River Holme Connections (RHC) and cannot wait to get stuck in! I feel very lucky to be working for such an amazing, growing charity in such a lovely part of the country.
Growing up on an upland farm in Scotland instilled a love of outdoor spaces. My ambition is to help ensure that people and nature can coexist happily and ultimately benefit one another. After studying Geology and Physical Geography at the University of Edinburgh, I moved to Arran to work at the Lochranza Centre CIC: a fantastic organisation that delivers outdoor opportunities for everyone. My primary role was ‘Geology Field Studies Tutor/ Outdoor Instructor’, teaching school pupils about the island’s incredible geology and taking people on adventures: gorge walking, abseiling, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking … the list goes on!
Initially the main bulk of my work with RHC will be tackling invasive non-native species (INNS) in the Holme Catchment through the ‘INNS Out’ project, with the help of our dedicated volunteers. The Japanese knotweed programme has been very successful so far, reducing previously large stands to small regrowth. Keeping on top of it will be vital over the next few years to stop any resurgence. [Note: Japanese knotweed can only be treated by licensed operatives.] Himalayan balsam remains widespread throughout the catchment, but luckily it is easier to tackle. Pulling Himalayan balsam out of the ground is safe and easy. Our Beat the Balsam campaign runs throughout summer with lots of opportunities for volunteers to get involved in ‘Balsam bashing’ events.
The River Stewardship Scheme enables us to improve the river on behalf of the home and business owners on its banks. Thanks to increasing uptake of this scheme, I shall be busy working on multiple stretches of the river for the benefit of wildlife, people and native plants. We will also be waymarking the Riverside way, making the route easier to follow and thus more accessible, as part of the River Revamp project. River cleanups, meadow management and enhancement, wildflower planting and tree and hedge planting are also a big part of this project.
As a keen hiker, climber, cyclist and geologist I look forward to properly exploring the local area and beyond. RHC regularly runs guided walks – see the Events section of the website for further details – and I hope to get along to some of these while also developing a few of my own later in the year.