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A salmon swims through it

Posted: Monday 27 September, 2010 @ 12:48:15

(left) Jim measures the grilse; (right) 'Reforesting Scotland' participants in Kinloch Woodland

The annual gathering of 'Reforesting Scotland' took place over the weekend of 23rd-25th September, based at Torridon Village Hall. The theme of the meeting, organised by Les and Sheila Bates of 'Croft 7', was 'A fish swims through it' and participants explored the many connections between woodland restoration and fisheries.

To prompt debate and discussion, WRFT Biologist, Peter Cunningham gave a presentation entitled 'Refertilising Scotland' which considers the need to restore the fertility of areas such as Wester Ross. This presentation can be found on the downloads page, in two parts, or by clicking the following links (note files are 24MB and 15MB respectively) [Refertilising Scotland Part 1; Refertilising Scotland Part 2].

During the afternoon we visited the Kinloch Woodland Trust's project area near Shieldaig which was established in the 1990s by former WRFT Chairman, Richard Munday and family. On the slopes opposite are some fine mature'granny' pines from where seeds were taken. More than 200,000 native trees have been planted. After years of heavy grazing and burning, slowly the ground is becoming more fertile and in some places beginning to support richer vegetation. Some of the young pines have already grown to almost 20 feet (6m) in height, others are less than 4ft high.

At the nearby FRS Shieldaig Project's fish trap we were incredibly lucky to witness a cock grilse; only the third wild salmon to have entered the trap in 12+ years since the Shieldaig Sea Trout Project started. After being measured and inspected, the fish was released to continue its upstream journey, and follow the two female grilse that were trapped and released earlier in the month. Salmon have not bred within the Shieldaig River system since the 1990s . . .

Thank you to Reforesting Scotland and Les and Sheila Bates for organising a wonderful event, and to Richard and Claire Munday and Jim Raffell for telling us about the area and some of the exciting ongoing restoration work.