So, what has crofting ever done for biodiversity?

The pressures of intensive farming have huge implications on biodiversity. In contrast, Scotland’s biodiversity strategy recognises the value of crofting and here we look at these benefits.

Croft in Shetland, Northern Isles Area. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

A croft in Shetland. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

The term ‘biodiversity’ has become a buzz word over the last few years. It sounds complicated, but ‘biodiversity’ simply means ‘the diversity of living things’.  The term includes the less ‘high profile’ groups of species such as insects, fungi, bacteria, lichens and mosses.  Measuring biodiversity is important because, in simple terms, having a lot of biodiversity implies a healthy environment.

Biodiversity benefits everyone. ©beckyduncanphotographyltd/SNH

Biodiversity benefits everyone. ©beckyduncanphotographyltd/SNH

Scotland has a biodiversity strategy, a policy document published by Scottish Government and based upon European and global strategies.  To ensure that our biodiversity strategy is achieved, the Scottish Government has published Scotland’s Biodiversity – a Route Map to 2020. This document sets out targets, essentially milestones – hence the name – to be reached by 2020.  That is the year when the next round of global biodiversity targets is due to be met.

So, back to the question, what has biodiversity got to do with crofting?  Lots of different species rely upon crofting for ‘a living’, and a lot of crofters rely upon lots of species to help their living.  Consider the Scottish tourism industry.  Scottish Natural Heritage’s economic impact study Assessing the economic impacts of nature based tourism in Scotland estimated that nature-based tourism is worth £1.4billion to Scotland’s economy (that’s approximately 40% of all tourism spending).  Placing a value, be it monetary or intrinsic, upon biodiversity is recognition that Scotland has natural capital.  It should be no surprise that one of the milestones is to increase investment in natural capital.

Lapwing-D0344.jpg

A lapwing on the South Uist machair. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

The Route Map recognises that one of the key pressures on biodiversity is land use intensification. Crofting however is low intensity.  That is why crofts are often full of wild flowers and can support nesting lapwings or help protect bumblebees.  It should be no surprise therefore that crofting areas already contribute a lot of Scotland’s natural capital.  And that natural capital is worth cultivating.  The Route Map also identifies which species should be the priority for our help. Removing American mink from the Western Isles to help birds, developing conservation projects for curlew, corncrake, corn bunting and the great yellow bumblebee are all  priority species associated with crofting areas.  It should be no surprise that some agri-environment options have been tailored for some of these species.

The answer therefore to the original question, what has crofting ever done for Biodiversity, is: a lot.

This blog is taken from an article by SNH’s Iain Macdonald in The Crofter, the magazine of the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Posted in biodiversity, crifting, Farming | Tagged , , , ,

1691 donuts expended in the SUSTRANS Challenge

SNH staff walked the talk when they took up the SUSTRANS Challenge to get to work in a more sustainable way.

Staff from SNH's head office in Inverness tramp over the hills to get to work.

Staff from SNH’s head office in Inverness tramp over the hills to get to work.

SNH staff throughout Scotland have been playing a role in demonstrating their commitment to their health and wellbeing and reducing their carbon footprint by taking part in the SUSTRANS Challenge.   Whilst the health agenda is not SNH’s core purpose, our staff are involved in encouraging participation in the outdoors and the development of the Natural Health Service so challenges like this really strike a cord with some of the work that’s at the heart of what we do.  It’s also a proven fact that adopting  a more active work environment can have positive effects on health and performance at work, that’s why SNH is committed to achieving the Healthy Working Lives Award.

Battleby staff took up the cycle to work challenge too. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Battleby staff took up the cycle to work challenge too. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Staff created a real buzz through organised group walk and cycle to work days, encouraging colleagues to hop on bikes or throw on their trainers, others changed their normal habit of getting in their car to car sharing or jumping on a bus.  We already encourage staff to use video conferencing instead of travelling where possible,  however we recognise that it’s not always possible so we encouraged staff travelling to other offices to make use of bike hire schemes at train stations or to take the bus instead of a taxi.

Together we came top of our category, clocking up 20766 miles, saving £2037 and  17744.21 Kg of CO2  compared to journeying by car, this all equates to 1691 donuts expended!  Well done everyone!

Have a look at the SUSTRANS website for lots of ideas on sustainable travel, and be inspired to take action.

 

Posted in Natural Health Service, sustainable travel | Tagged , , , , , ,

Ar mìosan ainmhidheach – Animal months

The English calendar is based on the Roman model, but the Gaelic names for the months of the year are closely linked to Scotland’s environment and our Celtic heritage. Three of them recall animals, both wild and domesticated, as Ruairidh MacIlleathain explains. Read the full Gaelic version below.

Wolf in Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig. ©Lorne Gill

Madadh-allaidh aig Pàirc Fiadh-Bheatha na Gàidhealtachd faisg air Ceann na Creige. Wolf in Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig. ©Lorne Gill

The Gaelic calendar is strongly linked to both the Scottish environment and our Celtic heritage. Only one month (Am Màrt/March) has anything in common with the English names for months, with both being based on the Roman style of naming.

Three Gaelic months are named after animals. January is Am Faoilleach (sounds like um FOEUIL*-yuch, where * is similar to the vowel sound in the French oeuf). This is the ‘wolf month’, when these wild animals were reputedly at their most dangerous because of hunger.

The following month is An Gearran (un GYAR-un). The word gearran originally meant ‘gelding’, but has become applied to Highland ponies and entered the English language as ‘garron’. The old Gaels recognised a series of winds in the late winter and spring that were important for calculating when to carry out farming activities. They named these winds after animals. The ‘horse wind’ has survived into modern times as the Gaelic for February.

Finally, October is An Dàmhair (un DAAV-ur), the time of the ‘deer rut’, a very apt descriptive name for that month in the Scottish Highlands.

Red deer stags fighting during rut. ©BertieGregory/2020VISION

Damh-dàir. Red deer stags fighting during the rut. ©BertieGregory/2020VISION

Tha mìosachan na Gàidhlig gu math eadar-dhealaichte bhon fhear Bheurla. Tha ainmean nam mìosan ann am Beurla stèidhichte air mìosachan nan Ròmanach. Tha na mìosan ann an Gàidhlig ainmichte, anns an fharsaingeachd, air rudan co-cheangailte ri àrainneachd na h-Alba no ar dualchas Ceilteach. ’S e an aon mhìos aig a bheil cumantas eadar an dà chànan Am Màrt/March air a bheil ainm stèidhichte air Mars, Dia a’ Chogaidh aig na Ròmanaich.

Tha Am Faoilleach’ a’ ciallachadh ‘mìos a’ mhadaidh-allaidh’. ’S e ‘faol’ seann fhacal a tha a’ ciallachadh ‘madadh-allaidh’ agus bha Faolan cumanta o shean mar ainm fir. Bha Naomh Faolan (Saint Fillan ann am Beurla) gu math ainmeil uaireigin agus tha an cinneadh MacIll’Fhaolain (MacLellan) ann am bith fhathast. Cha robh na Gàidheil leotha fhèin ann a bhith ag aithneachadh gum b’ e toiseach na bliadhna an t-àm as miosa airson mhadaidhean-allaidh, leis gun robh na creutairean sin acrach (ged a bha am Faoilleach o shean a’ gabhail a-steach air an dearbh mhìos); ghabh Sasannaich na seann aimsire wolf month air an dearbh mhìos..

Rum Pony. ©Laurie Campbell/SNH

Pònaidh Rumach. Rum pony. ©Laurie Campbell/SNH

Tha dàrna mìos na bliadhna, ‘An Gearran’, ainmichte airson each a chaidh a spothadh (no a ghearradh) agus tha am facal – a tha an-diugh a’ ciallachadh ‘each beag dùthchasach’ – air a dhol a-steach don Bheurla mar garron. Eadar toiseach na bliadhna agus toiseach an t-samhraidh bha sreath de ghaothan a bhiodh na seann daoine ag aithneachadh; bha iad air an ainmeachadh airson diofar ainmhidhean. ’S e an Gearran an aon tè dhiubh a chaidh a ghlèidheadh mar ainm mìosa anns a’ mhìosachan nodha.

’S e ainm an deicheamh mìosa ’s dòcha am fear as motha a tha a’ sanasachd nan dlùth-cheanglaichean eadar ar cànan is ar n-àrainneachd oir ’s e sin ‘An Dàmhair’. Tha sin a’ tighinn bho ‘damh-dàir’, an t-àm nuair a bhios na dàimh ruadha a’ dàireadh leis na h-èildean. Chan eil àm nas tarraingiche na sin ann an Alba, le dathan is solais an fhoghair a’ cur ri bùirich iongantach nan damh air beanntan na Gàidhealtachd.

Dh’fhaodamaid a ràdh cuideachd gu bheil na mìosan a leanas a’ riochdachadh àrainneachd no aimsir na h-Alba gu ìre: ‘An Giblean’ (nuair a tha beathaichean gibeach às dèidh a’ gheamhraidh), ‘An Cèitean’ (‘toiseach an t-samhraidh’), ‘An t-Ògmhios’ (nuair a tha na lusan is beathaichean òg agus a’ fàs), ‘An t-Sultain’ (nuair a tha sult air an sprèidh às dèidh an t-samhraidh) agus ‘An Dùbhlachd’ (nuair a tha an saoghal a’ fàs dubh dorch).

Gheibhear tuilleadh sgeulachdan air ar làraich Ghàidhlig.

Visit our Gaelic website for more Gaelic language information and stories.

Posted in Gaelic | Tagged , , , ,

Ocean Junkyard

The shocking reality of the damage done to our marine wildlife by human rubbish is something we all need to think about.  Zeshan Akhter, SNH’s Biodiversity Strategy Officer, tells us more, and you’ll be surprised.

Plastic rubbish washed up on a beach in the Mull of Galloway. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Plastic rubbish washed up on a beach in the Mull of Galloway. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

“Well, you lot have set yourselves up for a depressing evening!”  This was the cheerfully wicked greeting delivered to the audience at a talk I attended earlier this year.  It seemed the joke was on us for attending an event entitled ‘Ocean Junkyard’.  I was at the Edinburgh International Science Festival to hear about the work of marine scientists and conservation organisations on the topic of marine pollution.

The speakers highlighted how widespread the problem of plastic pollution has become in the oceans.

A sperm whale that recently washed up off the North Sea coast of the German state Schleswig-Holstein contained car parts and a 13m shrimp fishing net in its stomach.  One of the most shocking facts of the evening was that 90% of all fish now contain some form of plastic.  It’s predicted that by 2050 all fish will have plastic inside them and there will be more plastic in the sea by weight than fish.  There are 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste in the oceans. I subsequently read in a report launched in January 2016 by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, that 8 million tonnes of plastic leaks into the oceans every year.  This equates to dumping one garbage truck of plastic into the oceans every minute.  By 2050 it will be four trucks of waste per minute if nothing changes.

Pacific Ocean. By Chris Jordan (via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) Creative Commons

Remains of an albatross chick having been fed plastic marine debris by its parents, Pacific Ocean. By Chris Jordan (via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) Creative Commons

The problems affecting the coastlines featured heavily during the talks. A lot of the litter on Scottish shores comes from people flushing inappropriate items down toilets.  Sanitary products, cotton buds and wet wipes are common on beaches and come, primarily, from flushing.  The shores of the Forth have a particular problem with this kind of pollution.  A Marine Conservation Society speaker had considerately brought along a sample of items he had collected on Cramond beach that very morning.  He offered audience members the opportunity to delve into the resulting ‘lucky dip’ bag.  Fortunately, he had encased each offending item in a transparent plastic bag!  The problem is so bad that the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is running a ‘3 P’s’ awareness raising campaign. It stresses that only the three p’s should be flushed down the toilet.  I will leave you to conclude what they are… The last one is paper!  The MCS is very worried about wet wipes being flushed because these products combine with fats and grease to form ‘fatbergs’ that block drains. There are over 366,000 sewer blockages throughout the UK every year, of which between 50 % and 80% are caused by fats, oils and grease, wipes, sanitary waste and other unflushable items.

A new type of plastic waste that is becoming more and more prevalent comes in the form of nurdles.  These are lentil-sized beads that petroleum oil is turned into before being moulded into a bewildering array of plastic products by manufacturers.  Industrial plants can produce these at a rate of 500,000 per second.  Sometimes, the plants develop leaks through which nurdles escape.  Loss at sea from ships is also a source of nurdle pollution.  At sea, they can be swallowed by many kinds of marine wildlife.  Fidra, an environmental charity organisation based in East Lothian, encourages the public to report sightings to them through their website.  Fidra have developed a map of where nurdles have been found in Scotland.  It also shows companies that made a commitment to stop accidental loss of nurdles into the environment.

Plastic nurdles on the beach in Limekilns, Fife. ©Madeleine Berg/Fidra

Plastic nurdles on the beach in Limekilns, Fife. ©Madeleine Berg/Fidra

Another type of pollution that most people are probably not even aware of includes microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries.  These tiny particles that are less than 1mm in diameter.  They are added facial scrubs, body exfoliators and even toothpaste by manufacturers because of their helpful abrasive properties.  However, the problem is that they are so small that they pass straight through sewage treatment works and end up in the sea.  There, they are mistaken as food by fish and other wildlife.  As animals consume one another up the food chain, the particles become concentrated and ultimately, they end up in the fish and seafood that people eat.  The added danger is that both mico-beads and nurdles absorb and concentrate toxins from the seawater.  This means that ultimately, people are consuming both plastic and toxins.  Micro-beads are found throughout the oceans, hemmed up along coastlines and on the most pristine looking beaches.  Concerned charities have developed an app to help check if a product contains the microbeads so that people can make informed choices when they make purchases.

A further surprising source of plastic pollution is clothing made from petroleum-based materials.  This includes fleeces, which, when washed, release plastic fibres into washing machine waste pipes at a rate of 20,000 per wash.  In ten years’ time it’s expected that washing machines will be fitted with filters as standard to trap the microfibers.  In the meantime, filters can be fitted to the waste pipe of machines by consumers after they have been bought.  From the point of view of avoiding plastic waste, natural fibres, such as wool, are the best materials for warm clothing.

Gibraltar has recently banned the mass release of helium balloons during its national day. In Scotland, some local authorities have done so too.  Balloons can be swallowed by animals such as turtles, fish and birds.  Inside stomachs, the balloons block animals’ ability to take in, and digest food.  The animals can starve to death as a result.  Animals also become entangled in the strings that are often attached to balloons.

An architect from Rotterdam has created floating nature reserves from re-moulded plastic originally found in the harbour there.  He hopes the islands will show people that plastic, once thrown away, doesn’t stop existing.  It just goes somewhere else, into somebody else’s back yard, whether that is the wider ocean or the local harbour.  Sometimes that backyard is brought home to us in as real a way as possible as was the case when an SNH colleague, preparing a meal at home, gutted a fish only to find it contained a little piece of fishing net.

How will you get close to your backyard and check how it’s doing?

The Marine Conservation Society organise regular beach clean-ups around the country.  Find out here how you can help.

Posted in Marine, marine pollution | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The alternative ‘NC500.8’

Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the North Coast 500, is being hailed as the new must-do cycle route.  SNH staff member Gill Agnew headed off to experience its spectacular scenery and thrilling ups and downs for herself.

My trusty steed, looking down Loch Kishorn.

My trusty steed, looking down Loch Kishorn.

Genius! Recognise the beauty of what exists; brand it; suggest it can be cycled…and folks like me (enthusiastic adventurers of sorts) are game.  It’s about the journey right?  No need to try and beat the record.  And what a journey it was.  If the aim was to cycle 500 miles in 7 days around Scotland’s northern coasts in awe of the scenery under blue skies and sunshine then we succeeded – just, clocking 500.8 miles.  We didn’t stick strictly to the official route – preferring to venture through Strath Halladale at the expense of a large chunk of the east coast A9 – but surely that can be forgiven in pursuit of a quiet single track road to see The Flow Country?

My friend Caroline and me cycling up the Bealach na Ba.

My friend Caroline and me cycling up the Bealach na Ba.

It was a challenging but achievable timescale for cycling 500 miles – colleagues have cycled it much faster but we knew we needed time for faffing, refreshments and photographs.  You could be forgiven for thinking that the Bealach na Ba would be the toughest part of the cycle.  It was tough, and the views from the top are breath-taking – but by no means the toughest.  The journey from Applecross to Sheildaig en route to Aultbea on day 2 was tougher, but the area around Upper Loch Torridon for me was the most scenic part of our route so made the leg burn worth it.  The journey from Lochinver to Kylesku en route to Durness on day 4 was torture.  Give me a Bealach any day.

Clachtoll Beach – but no time for a dip.

Clachtoll Beach – but no time for a dip.

The west coast in particular has truly magnificent views and landscapes, many of which I’d only over ever seen in other people’s photos.  To be able to pull on the brakes, see the colours for real and experience the vastness was a privilege, even if the schedule didn’t allow for a quick dip.

Stac Pollaidh.

Stac Pollaidh.

One of the downsides of cycling a route like this (apart from the odd mouthful of flying beasties) is that the relief and excitement at being able to freewheel downhill, fast, overrides the desire to stop at all the places you would want to.  Knockan Crag NNR fell into this category (so no photo) and was but a blur – but high on the list of things to return to, with or without the bike.

At every café, tea room and accommodation stop there was no surprise that we were doing the ‘NC500’ – “everyone who comes here is doing it”.  We found the roads relatively quiet, always got a table at the restaurants (though twice having to sit in our cycling gear after arriving too close to last orders) and had booked our accommodation months in advance.  We also booked a week of fantastic weather – like you do.  Recommend it?  Absolutely – whatever the means of transport.  Do it again?  Yes – already being planned for the significant birthday of a (non-cycling) friend on tartan scooters.

If you’re inspired and would like to do the route yourself  you can find out all about it on the North Coast 500 website.

All images by Gill Agnew.

 

Posted in long distance routes | Tagged , , , ,

Species of the month – the greenshank

Andy Douse, SNH’s Senior Ornithologist, tells us about these vocal waders you might be lucky enough to spot (and hear) at this time of year in the far north of Scotland.

A common greenshank. ©David Whitaker

A common greenshank. ©David Whitaker

Back in early April, I’m sitting on a bare hillside, waiting for the early morning mist to rise and for conditions to settle for my first Breeding Bird Survey plot-count this year.  In the distance a familiar call suddenly erupts out of the silence; a sharp, plaintive ‘teu-teu-teu’ announces the presence of a breeding male greenshank.  Despite its familiarity, the call is so evocative of its moorland habitat that it never fails to excite.  Today is a good day: at least two pairs are present, both concentrated along the small burn that runs across the site, and around the boggy pool complex that dominates much of the area I have to cross.

The Flows NNR, a favourite breeding spot for the greenshank. ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION

The Flows NNR, a favourite breeding spot for the greenshank. ©Lorne Gill/SNH/2020VISION

The greenshank is a wading bird; familiar to many in winter on the estuaries and mud flats round the British coast, but in summer it is most often found in the far north: especially the Flow Country; the Lewis Peatlands and the river valleys of the North-west Highlands. Over the rest of northern Europe greenshank nest in vast forests interspersed with bogs, but here in Scotland they nest in the open boglands.  Unlike its close relative, the redshank it eschews the lowland wet meadows and coastal salt-marsh, for wilder and wetter habitats.

Arriving back in late March, the males settle back on their territories, often along waterways or over pool systems, before beginning their wildly chaotic song flights.  Long passages of repeated, double-noted phrases ring out during their exuberant, switch-back flights, as exhilarating to watch as it must be to engage in.  Once a territory is established the female lays four eggs and incubation starts.  Often sited on drier ground, sometimes in the same scoop used in previous years, and invariably next to a rock or a pine stick, the nests are none-the-less hard to find, partly due their impeccable plumage camouflage which renders them almost invisible against the grey-brown vegetation.

A greenshank on its nest. ©Paul Robertson

A well-camouflaged greenshank on its nest. ©Paul Robertson

Once hatched, the attentive parents lead the chicks to a nearby water body, which may mean travelling up to two kilometres in a day, no mean feat for a small chick just out of the nest.  On reaching their feeding habitat, the adults and chicks feed on invertebrates – diving beetles, dragon-fly nymphs or the occasional amphibian.  The chicks grow fast, and by early July are almost ready to fly. By then the females have left the family territory and begun their return migration.  Males stay much longer, often lasting until the latter part of July, followed lastly by the juveniles.  Some will stay in Britain but many will move further south, into France, Spain and as far south as tropical West Africa.

To find out more, look no further than Desmond and Maimie Nethersole-Thompson’s book on the greenshank, surely one of the very best of the Poyser monographs.

You can hear the greenshank’s call and find out more about it on the RSPB’s web page.

 

Posted in Birds, Species of the month | Tagged ,

The scunner of another ripped manicure

Pruning away the dead wood of a champion crab apple causes huge amounts of pain and grief to Jim Carruthers, Battleby’s gardener, but every year he, and all of Battleby’s staff and visitors, are rewarded with the most spectacular froth of blossom.

The crab apple (Malus toringo) in Battleby grounds. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Battleby’s crab apple (Malus toringo).

Every back end I despair. Given the dreich sloughed over all Scotland at this time I know I’m not alone but the particular source of my groaning is a venerable crab apple tree. I go under its canopy, a 10m-wide spread like a horse mushroom and look at all the broken wood. That sinking feeling is there again, when you know what’s coming, the awkward hours spent ruining your manicure and coiffeur.

It is hard, the wood, the work. I tell myself that, although it is dark, it is dry but, as with cycling and bonfires, the wind’s always in your face and it brings the saw dust into your eyes and mouth as well as your hair. The dust is fine because the wood is hard, more so when dead. The wood is hard to hold and difficult to manoeuvre because of the spines and the interwoven matrix of branches. Snagging of clothes is common, screevings of arms de rigeur.

Aged trunk. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

The aged crab apple trunk.

Sieboldii!” shouted Geronimo, the Dutch eco-arborist. “We had it as toringoides” I ventured with hesitation. Owen, the Tree Registrar of Britain and Ireland puts us right. “Toringo”. He then added “Neither of you are really wrong but toringo is the right name.”

Toringo, it sounded like a drink for adolescents, something that would turn your tongue yellow and your innards to mush. It turns out this specimen has the largest girth of any Malus toringo, to give it its full name, in all the British Isles. A champion, a venerable champion.

Each year, when I’m pruning away the dead and broken wood, I make piles and vow to take the branches away sometime for kindling, wee barbecues or for smoking trout. Every year I fail that vow; the thought of blunting my saws further, rending another manicure for something so inessential holds sway. Having to buy another combination of Radox and Old Poultney, the only known treatment, is too thrawn a prospect.

Battleby meadow. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Battleby meadow.

At some point during this brutality a dwam appears and I, as torture victims tend to, dive in. I salute the trees of Hallaig individually, have lunch in a Turkish seaside restaurant, name my newly-bred crab ‘Aforethought’. Even the best of dwams cannot prevail and it’s a case of when, not if, the torture reconvenes. This time a bramble has lassoed my leg; cue loss of balance and gain of pain.

This crab flowers very profusely. Crabs do tend to flower well and are attractive to wildlife, bees in particular. As is the case with most members of the rose family, exceptions being the over-bred cultivars of whatever genus. But this is exceptionally profuse. The word ‘profuse’ is overused, especially in catalogues and garden centres but not with this specimen. Some of the branches I saw away at would have flowered way back in the 1940s and 50s when it overlooked a wee golf course and saw pheasants being driven down to the guns waiting below the Atlantic cedars. The golf course is gone and, after spells as grazing and lawn, is now replaced by a wildflower meadow. The orchids come out into flower as the crab fades. Each year the meadow is cut in early autumn once the orchid and other wildflower seeds are set. About the same time the pheasant season starts and the birds come like refugees to find sanctuary from the neighbouring shoots.

The blindingly white blossom of the Malus toringo. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

The blindingly white blossom of the Malus toringo.

Every May I revel in its flowering, blindingly white on a sunny afternoon, unfailing despite the damage brought on by the recent prevalence of gales and claggy snows. But when it’s December and I’m underneath it I despair; one of these springs, I know the chances are, it is just not going to be there. Fruit trees, particularly pears, can limp away on for centuries. Despite my concerns for its wellbeing, there is a slow realisation. This is after all a tree that witnessed the birth of the NHS, the ghosting of John White, the emergence of Kelman and the passing of stooks and steel.

Aye, it’ll be the toringo that sees me off and no the other way round.

GLOSSARY
scunner:disgust
dreich:
bleakness
sloughed:
coated
screevings: scratches
thrawn: vexing
dwam: daydream

Battleby is SNH’s Tayside Area office and is also a fabulous conference centre suitable for events of all sizes. The extensive grounds are open to the public all year round. You can find out more about it here.

All images ©Lorne Gill/SNH.

 

Posted in battleby, crab apple, trees | Tagged , , , , , ,