February 2018 - Work Party
It was a fine sunny day for the work party, and eight volunteers turned out to do their bit to keep the paths in the woods open and help improve them for wildlife.
At the previous work party, in December, we had made a valiant effort to clear the gorse-choked track from the cross-roads in the woods, to the north side of the loch – now known for evermore as “Gorse Alley”. Even though we made a good start, we ran out of time then, so this time we were keen to finish the job. The track into the woods from Greenleonachs, although easily passable, was also getting overgrown.
Greenleonachs Track - Almost clear
So, we split the group between the two jobs. We made good early progress on the Greenleonachs track (which, incidentally, is now part of the John O’Groats trail long distance path from Inverness to John O’Groats), but Gorse Alley was another kettle of fish. So, after a break for elevenses and a blether, we focussed on the gorse. As time ticked away and the end of the path hardly seemed any closer, conversation dried up and the loppers flashed!
Gorse Alley - Spot the Path!
And the end result – just finished in time – is a new route for folk to explore. It’s still a little bit narrow in places, but it opens up two circular routes. To explore the northern bank of the loch, turn left at the far end of the newly-cleared track – but watch your feet, it’s a bit boggy in places. Alternatively, turn right and follow a good path to come out on the main forestry road close to the recycling car park. Do use them, otherwise they’ll get overgrown again in no time!
Thanks to the volunteers – and watch out for the next work party.
December 2017 - Christmas Work Party
On a pleasant Saturday morning, 17 adults and children started to clear three paths in the woods. The before and after photos show the main track going towards the village from the crossroads - what a difference!
The new John O'Groats Way runs through Culbokie Woods from the entrance at Greenleonachs to the recycling car park. This route through the woods is also marked as a cycle route on the Black Isle Active Travel Map so work was started to ensure that the vegetation is kept back from the path at the Greenleonachs entrance.
The third path was a challenge! This was the old track going SW from the crossroads and it has been totally blocked for a few years. It has now been opened up for about half of its length and will hopefully be completed during another work party early in 2018.
And after. Doesn't it look great?
November 2017 - Black Isle Badgers; A Talk and a Visit to a Sett
Another fully booked event! In fact, overbooked, so we hope to run another event in February or March next year. Fifteen people had an informative talk about badgers from Dave Walsh before walking to a local sett for a short visit. Despite there still being a covering of bracken several entrance holes were visible, each with a spoil heap from the badger's excavations.
Dave is interested in setting up a Scottish Badgers surveying group on the Black Isle and would like to hear from anyone who can spare some time (mainly in the winter months) to help and learn more about these animals. He would also be pleased to hear from anyone who already knows of badger setts, or who see badgers regularly. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
September 2017 - Fungi Forage
A full complement of eighteen people set off into Culbokie Woods for a Fungal Foray, with fungi expert Liz Holden. We didn’t have to go far to find loads of beautiful and colourful species and we were shown what features to look for when trying to identify them. The highlight of the morning was the discovery of the extremely rare ‘golden navel’ on a fallen spruce trunk.
July 2017 - BushCraft
All the children's bushcraft sessions were well attended with children not only coming from Culbokie but also from the wider Black Isle and beyond. Ian Paterson, from Go Wild Highlands, had a wide range of activities over the four days to keep the children interested. They made shelters, used a fire steel to make fire, tied knots to make a stretcher and a bridge, made charcoal, solved animal crime scenes and made twine from nettles. The most popular activity, however, was probably cooking 'bread' and marshmallows over the fire!
April 2017 - Work Party
The rain early in the day stopped just in time for a work party of eight who tackled the removal of rhododendron in Culbokie woods.
Three areas were cut down and as much as possible of the roots removed, with many seedlings at one area also being pulled up.
If allowed to grow unchecked rhododendron will take over native habitats, spreading by seeding and by layering to create a dense, dark canopy that stops anything growing underneath.
Attacking one rhododendron!
One worker and five helpers looking on and giving advice!
December 2016 - Work Party
Pleasant weather on Saturday, 3rd December brought a turnout of about 25 adults and children to our annual Christmas Work Party. The verges near the bench on the bend of the main track were cleared to allow flowers and grasses to flourish in a sunny area known for butterflies and dragonflies. The path, originally a track, which goes NE from the bench and had become very overgrown and unpleasant to walk along was also cleared. It is now open, giving good access and a better experience for walkers and joggers.
Trees for Christmas were taken home by many of the workers after a successful few hours work.
July 2016 - Guided Walk
In beautiful weather, over 20 people participated in a guided walk to explore the small and winding paths of Culbokie Wood away from the main forestry extraction routes. The group visited Culbokie Loch and the ancient remains of two dams on Findon Burn. Other highlights included an unusual orchid called 'creeping ladies tresses', some woodpecker holes, a range of other flowers, fungi and ferns and a discussion about the glacial geology of the woods.
Several members of the group continued on for a jolly evening in the Culbokie Inn where talk turned to further events such as a specialist walk to look at the mushrooms.
May 2016 - New Benches
Walkers in the wood will have noticed the recent addition of some rustic benches at both ends of the wood. These have been provided by the Forestry Commission at the request of CCT. The one in Culbokie Woods is several hundred meters from the main entrance, set in a small open glade where the sun can get in - a good place to rest and absorb the atmostphere. The one in Glascairn Wood has been placed up on the Glascairn Ridge where there is a break in the trees to give a brilliant view of Ben Wyvis. This is a great place to sit and contemplate the enormous geological forces that have shaped our landscape (details in the Culbokie Woods leaflet)