and Pulling: 26 March 2018
It’s time for a commentator’s
curse: spring has definitely arrived! Which means
that outside birds are returning, moths and butterflies
are appearing and everything is starting to grow again.
All good news, especially at Portmoak Moss. Except the
bit about everything starting to grow. Most of it we
like, but we’re not keen on birch saplings sprouting on
the raised bog. They suck water out and prevent sphagnum
moss from growing. If we didn’t do anything about it, in
a few years the whole of the Moss would be covered with
birch scrub. We’d lose our open views and even worse,
we’d lose the unique raised bog eco-system which we’ve
been patiently restoring for almost 20 years.
Time for action. For quite a while birch regen has been
controlled using chemicals - weedkillers - which is an
easy way to do it, but needs doing every year. We’d like
to find a more sustainable method so we’re experimenting
with birch popping and pulling. Pulling is easy to
understand. The smallest saplings can be yanked out by
hand, but bigger ones have bigger roots and that’s where
the poppers come in. They have jaws to grip the trunk
and a long lever to pop the tree out, roots and all. We
bought 2 poppers last winter and we’ve been
experimenting with them. Then in March a team from the
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) joined us
to put in a concentrated day of popping and pulling.
SEPA employees are allowed to spend a workday taking
part as volunteers on a suitable scheme. Popping and
pulling on the Moss was a great opportunity to get out
of the office for a day and get on with some practical
work in the environment. It turned out to be good fun
too and we cleared an area of about 150 square metres.
Burns Supper: 27 January 2018
Once again, the haggis had a hard
time of it. It made a dash for the door but Dr Carr was
merciless with his broad sword. The immortal memory was
by Professor Robert Crawford of St Andrews University,
who dealt with Burns as a sex pest. As always, many
locals made pests of themselves by singing, reciting,
playing, writing haikus and downing prodigious amounts
of whisky. A good time had by all. Except the haggis. The Newsletter report is
Christmas Tree Day: 17 December 2017
Quite a local tradition now -
loads of people came and got their Christmas Trees
from the Moss.
Road Repair: 15 Oct 2017
You might have noticed
that the track into the Moss from Scotlandwell was
full of holes. Well, we looked into them (!) and
decided that something had to be done. The owners of
the road (a big utility company, no names but you
could always protest by stopping drinking any water)
have always resisted doing any repairs so we decided
that we'd just go ahead and fix the track ourselves.
The Portmoak Festival donated funds for materials - a
big heap of Type 1 - and a gang of us went down and
got the job done.
Day: 1 Oct 2017
We’ve been doing this for
a few years now and this was another enjoyable event,
despite the rain. In fact, maybe because of the rain -
we moved indoors to the Village Hall and about 60
people came to get their apples turned into juice. Or
their neighbour's. (Note the punctuation. Apostrophe
's'. It's their apples that got turned into juice, not
the actual neighbours).
Portmoak Time Machine: 23 July 2017
Our favorite Time Lord
brought his tardis to Portmoak Moss as part of the
"Our Portmoak" series of events. Andrew McBride of SNH
took a peat core of about 6 metres depth - that is to
say he went back in time by about 6000 years.
Facinating. We could clearly see changes in climate
(wet periods, dry periods) and in vegetation types
through the history of the Moss. There was even a well
preserved, bright blue insect carapice from about 5500
years ago. More than 20 people attended and much
enjoyed the event. Espeically small boys who were able
to smear each other with some really, really old mud.
23 July 2017
23 to 23 July
was a UK-wide dragonfly event. They were duly spotted on
Trust for Ornithology: 27 May 2017
Gail the bird ringer(their legs, not their necks) set up
three nets in the field opposite the village hall.
Didn't use feeders or tape lures (latter forbidden
in the breeding season), so relied on birds moving
through the area. Nets were set up among small trees so
that birds flying between them would be trapped. In
total caught 11 birds, all unringed: blue tit
(3), great tit (3), bullfinch, chiffchaff, robin,
willow warbler (2).
Saw or heard
great spotted woodpeckers, green woodpecker, garden
warbler, blackcap, white throat, buzzard, sparrowhawk,
garden warbler, wren, thrush, blackbird, chaffinch,
Dawn Chorus: 6 May 2017
A 04:00 start for a dawn
chorus event, led by Scott Paterson. It was
International Dawn Chorus Day so crazy people all
around the world were making their blearly eyed way
outdoors. We didn't see many birds but heard plenty
and as always, Scott was a mine of information. Great
event attended by about a dozen of our local crazies.
Tree Pruning: 23 April 2017
A dozen folk went down to
the Moss to prepare Christmas trees for our December
event. By taking care of split growth and giving them
a bit of space and shaping at this time of year,
everything is much easier in December.
General Meeting: 18 April 2017
The office bearers were
elected - well, re-elected. Jeff Gunnell is the Chair,
Louise Batchelor is the Secretary and Lesley Botten is
We're in good shape financially with enough funds to
be able to keep putting on public events free of
charge but also able to respond rapidly to
opportunities, like buying more land or paying for
projects, should a suitable opportunity crop up.
We looked back on what we've done in the last year and
we're pleased with the balance between management
activities and public events.
The constitution is here.
And if you want to see the minutes of the AGM, they
at last: The Times features PCW: 17 April 2017.
See this: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/returning-the-land-to-bog-standard-rg68pnwnh
in parliament and with the Climate Change Secretary:
An important event for
bogs: the Peatland Action programme has been
relaunched. Much of the funding for the projects that
we have been doing to restore Portmoak Moss has come
from Peatland Action via SNH. PCWG were represented at
Holyrood when the programme was introduced to MSPs and
also at the Red Moss, near Edinburgh where the Climate
Change Secretary saw just what bogs and mosses are
like and why they are important. We were expecting a
chap in a pinstripe suit, bowler hat and carrying a
furled umberella, but it turned out to be Rosanna
Woodland Trust Managemnt plan for the Moss is available
for public comment
Every five years the
Woodland Trust make their Management Plan for the
Moss. This is a big deal: it sets the baseline for
what will happen in the future. The document is now
for public comment and naturally the Portmoak
Community Woodland Group will give it a careful
review. The deadline for comment is 5pm Saturday
8 April 2017 and anyone can comment to the
Woodland Trust. If you, prefer, send your comments to
PCWG at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll incorporate them with ours.
It's a big document, 42
pages, with a lot of detail and there are two big
The long term intention is that ground conditions over
the core area will be maintained as a raised bog
habitat. Hurrah! This is a key goal for the PCWG and
we've put a lot of energy into projects to restore the
2. The last large remaining area of Sitka spruce will be
clear-felled (going in from Scotlandwell, this is
the area on the left). This needs to done
because the trees are near end of life, are becoming
increasing unstability and there is a heightened risk
of large scale windblow which causes a safety hazard
and is expensive to deal with on a tree by tree basis.
The clearfelled areas will be encouraged to develop
into mixed native woodland. Existing areas of Scots
pine will be retained for as long as possible to
provide a suitable habitat and food source for the
small colony of red squirrels on the site. Any gaps
that occur will be allowed to regenerate naturally
into mixed woodland. Natural regeneration will be
supplemented by enrichment planting as required with
We welcome your
orchard pruning: 19 March 2017
Some of us put in few
hours on the orchard doing some springtime maintenance
- pruning and maintaining our fruit trees. They are
looking pretty good and we're hoping for an even
bogger crop later this year.
survey: 10 March 2017
We're really lucky to
have George Guthrie carry out regular surveys of the
moths and butteflies on the Moss. George did his first
mothing of this season on Friday 10th Mar night. It
turned out to be a very good night for ‘mothing’ with
a minimum temperature of 8 degC , no wind and dull. He
found 21 moths of 9 species. They were: 7 Yellow
Horned, 3 March Moth, 3 Chestnut, 2 Satellite, 2
Mottled Umber, 1 Pale Brindled Beauty, 1 Common
Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character, 1 Pine Beauty. George also
saw a Common Newt, not in the trap but crawling around
on the sheet.
Supper: 21 January 2017 The official press write
up from theCommunity Newsletter is here.
The legendary one, as
always with the haggis on the receiving end of stern
words from Bill Carr. It was fetched in by Chloe
Vlasto and Kirsty Buchanan gave it the Selkirk grace.
Tich Frier immortalised the memory, the Portmoak
Players played, as did Mike and Craig Lithgow, there
were poems, especially "The Louse" from Fi Cooper, the
lasses were praised to the heavens by Simon Kay, as
were were the laddies by Jessica Kay and this year's
competition to produce a new bit of Burns was won by
something written and sung in Swedish by Bengt Tegner.
No idea what it was about. As if that wasn't enough,
under the guise of Mosses, Waters, Slaps and Stiles,
Mr Batchelor informed the populace of all the good
work done on their behalf by t' committee.
tree day: 11 December 2016
Once again around 80
families came got their Christmas trees from the Moss.
Although our events are free, many people made
generous donations and all of that money will go back
into developing our community woodlands and purtting
bird walk: 5 November by Scott Paterson
Comments on the event
included: "Very good!" "Great!"
So popular it was extended from 1 to 2 events.
Attended by 19 + 12 people.
Sightings included: crossbill, gold crest, jay, red
wing, field fair. Lot’s of interesting information,
even on things as common as pigeons.
day: 2 October 2016
Lots of fun including
pressing to make apple juice; identifying types of
apple; eating apple cakes, tarts, pies; all based on
people scrumping their neighbours' apples. Teas and
baking were provided by a team from Kinross School who
are funding raising for a volunteering trip to Africa.
by Japanese researchers: September 2016
We hosted the visit of a
team of Japenese reseachers who are travelling through
Europe looking looking at community involvement in
running and managing woodland projects.
project: September 2016
A major piece of work,
funded by LLLP and Portmoak Community Woodland Group
is under way on the Moss. Read more details
here. Basically we have been so successful in
raising the water table that now we have to safeguard
against the danger of bog burst. To do that we are
reprofiling the steep peat banks at the edges of the
Moss and putting in some peat dams on the surface to
limit run off through the old drainage channels. The
work will take about a month to complete and there
shouldn't be too much disruption to walking round the
This could become a Best Practice for the
restoration of raised peat bogs.
Roadshow: 22 Jun 2016
The Living Lomonds
Landscape Partnership have been very supportive of us,
providing funds for the development of our report on
management options as well as enough money to make a
start on actually doing some of the work. The LLLP is
coming to a conclusion and they had a roadshow at
which various participants in their projects explained
what had been done. We attended and gave an update
about the work on Portmoak Moss.
weaving: 19 Jun 2016
Basket weaving is a good,
old fashioned, country craft. And locally we've got a lot of good,
old fashioned, basket cases so we had Jan Hendry come
in to show us how it's done. Baskets, trugs and
something that looked a bit a misshapened butterfly,
but might have been a beer mat were all produced.
Discovery day: 16 Jun 2016
identification day: 22 May
We took part in the annul
event at Kirkgate Park along with The Woodland Trust
who shared a stand with us. They were promoting their
latest woodland schemes while Lesley and Michael were
looking at the history and furture of the raised bog
talk a lot about the Moss, but what mosses are
actually there? Debbie Spray of SNH led a
session on how to identify the various types.
We're especially keen on sphagnums because they
are a bog builder and a good indication of the
health of a bog. There are potentially 7 kinds
of sphagnum which could be expected on our Moss
and with Debbie's help we were able to find and
locate all of them. There are also two types of
cotton grass beginning to colonise big areas.
All good news. Portmoak Moss continues to
respond well to our restoration activities.
Annual General Meeting: 19 April 2016
At our AGM the office
bearers were elected - well, re-elected actually since
everyone seemed pleased with the way that things are
going. Jeff Gunnell is the Chair, Louise Batchelor is
the Secretary and Lesley Botten is the Treasurer.
We're in good shape financially with enough funds to be
able to keep putting on public events free of charge but
also able to respond rapidly to opportunities, like
buying more land or paying for projects, should a
suitable opportunity crop up.
We looked back on what we've done in the last year and
we're pleased with the balance between management
activities and public events.
Finally, we tuned up the constitution a little bit. You
can see the new one here.
And if you want to see the minutes of the AGM, they are
Work session in the Moss: 24 April
Christmas is coming! So we
went to our Christmas tree area in the Moss and did some
work to prepare for December. Making space around good
looking trees, dealing with splits and shaping them so
they'll look good.
And the Oscar goes to...
Scottish Natural Heritage
(SNH) are producing a series of films on peatland
restoration techniques. They needed to get some footage
of contractors clearing and treating scrub on a lowland
bog and thought that Portmoak Moss would be an ideal
location so on 24 March a film crew were on site to get
their shots. It meant that another troublesome area of
birch regen got cleared.
session in the orchard: 20 March
Twelve people (but no
dogs) did a bit of pruning and tree work in our
community orchard. We'll have another apple day in the
orchard in the autumn, same as last year, so we're
hoping for an even better crop now that the trees are
becoming established and our maintenance skills are
seen in Portmoak Moss! January 2016
Jess Kay and her dog
scared up this wild animal during their morning
constitutional. Well, we've heard that climate change
is driving species further north...
Supper:23 January, 2016
The unfortunate haggis
was led to the table by Chloe Vlasto (Poozie)
and Dr Carr shared a few first thoughts with it. The
remains were scraped together and Chloe carried them
off again to the delicate refrain of Tom Brown's
bagpipes. Kirsty Buchanan gave us the Selkirk Grace
and this year The Imortal Memory was from John Purser,
of BBC broadcasting fame. Lots of people thought it
was such a polished piece that they wanted to read
again. And you can, right here: Purser
Immortal Memory. (Small print: the copyright, in whole and
in part, is the property of John Purser).
Chris Allen delivered the
Toast to Lassies in a North American accent and was
firmly put in his place by the reply from Antonia
Allen, not in a North American accent. But that's
not all. Titch Frier got everyone singing, the
Portmoak Players had more classical arrangements
of songs, Elaine Carruthers dusted off Tam
O'Shanter and Jessie Pryde did a song that Burns
wished he'd written himself, The Pan Drap. Louise
Batchelor reminded everyone that this whole thing is
just a thinnly disguised Portmoak Community Steering
Group managment meeting with PowerPoints and
everything. The audience challenge this year was to
improve on Burn's words for any of his songs. Here's
the winner (it was that sort of night):
doggy meet a doggy, comin' thro' the Moss,
De-fecatin' ilka doggy, disnae gie a toss;
Ilka walker has a baggie - that
they left at hame;
Sae ilka path gets awfi crappy - tis
mingin' a' the same.
The official report from
the Kinross Newsletter is here.
Christmas Tree Day: 13 December,
About 60 families came for
their Christmas trees (or possibly the free mulled
wine). We'd made a bit of an effort earlier in the year
to thin and prune the thicket so the trees were better
than ever and everyone seemed pleased with what they
got. And it also helps to prevent regen on an area of
the Moss that we want to get back to being a raised bog.
day, 13 September, 2015
Have you ever wondered
what kind of apple tree you have in the garden? It may
be an old variety producing unusual fruit or you may
have a comparatively young tree but can no longer read
the label? We had an apple
identification afternoon in the Portmoak
Community Orchard on Sunday September 13th. Very good
attendance: 70 people and 4 dogs. The Women's Rural
laid on tea and apple-themed cakes. Apples were
converted into juice. Most of the trees in orchard
were identified and labelled. The event was sponsored
by the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership.
Options for Portmoak Moss, February 2015It’s a detailed and hence
large document, 66 pages long, but the summary at the
beginning outlines the main themes. We'll be working
with The Woodland Trust Scotland on the new management
plan and we hope to include these ideas into a long term
Our consultant, Robin
Payne, has completed his report on ‘Management
Options for Portmoak Moss’. We’re very pleased
with it: it’s full of good ideas and has plenty for
Supper: 24 January 2015
usual, we all trooped into the Village Hall like
haggises to the slaughter. Which Bill Carr - in the
uniform of the Surgeon to Manus O'Cahan's Regiment of
the Army of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose in the
Service of King Charles 1st in Scotland - duly did.
Former MSP John McAllion remembered the Immortal
One, Fi Cooper gave us all lice. Or at least, The Louse,
and Elaine Carruthers gave us another poem, now lost in
the mists of time and whisky. Mike and Gerry and the
Portmoak Players strummed, blew, fiddled about and sang,
then Karen reminded everyone how lucky they were to have
such a wonderful steering group to look after their
woodlands for them. Meeting ajourned in the wee sma'
YouTube link: When
Bill addresses the haggis, it stays addressed.
Sunday 14 December
people braved the blustery weather to get their Xmas
tree and enjoy some mulled wine and minced pies with us.
As usual, everything was free, but there were lots of
donations to the Moss.
consultation on the future of Portmoak Moss: Friday 5
December: Well Inn: 18:00-20:00
Trust Scotland will soon be drawing up their five year
management plan for Portmoak Moss. The Community
Woodland Steering Group decided this was a good time to
come up with some of our own ideas so with money from
the Heritage Lottery Fund, matched by Scottish Natural
Heritage, we’ve commissioned a team of specialists to
look at all aspects of Portmoak Moss.
join us on Friday December 5th at The Well Country Inn,
Scotlandwell, for a drop-in session, starting at
6pm. This is everyone’s opportunity to express
views on the future of the Moss and our consultant will
be there with maps and various ideas for you to comment
on. The event will last for an hour or two and will be
Moss is a very special place, in so many ways, for so
many people and whilst not wishing to lose any of that
we also want to explore the potential to create a much
more diverse set of habitats and continue to restore the
function of the Moss as a carbon store and flood control
mechanism. Come along and give us your ideas and
Shield: 19 November 2014: We are the Champions, My
Civic Trust announced the award on Wednesday evening, 19
November, of its Woodland Shield. Inaugurated soon after
the Trust’s inception in 1991, the competition is open
to schemes within the County of Kinross and Glenfarg
Parish, to encourage environmental improvement schemes
and a diversity of wildlife, including the planting and
management of woodland and promoting public access for
the benefit of future generations.
were six entries for the 2014 Award with the winner
being Kilmagad Wood,
Scotlandwell, a community wood established
jointly by the WOODLAND TRUST and PORTMOAK COMMUNITY
WOODLAND GROUP. The judges commented “that the new
wooded area dovetailed into the relic natural woodland
and that there were obvious signs of community
involvement and useage.” Here's the Press Release.
with gardening, so with community woodlands. This
has been a time to enjoy the fruits of our
labours. Many of the apple trees in the community
orchard in Kilmagad Wood have been covered with fruit
and our third harvest has been the best yet. We’ve
seen a wonderful increase from just one apple on the
young trees in the first year, to several hundred this
time. It’s great that the hard work of planting
and pruning is producing results..
We filled a basket with
apples and put it in Kinnesswood Shop and we’re grateful
to them for making space for it and allowing
people to help themselves. Of course, being a
community orchard, the idea is that people should pick
their own and if we get a good crop next year we’ll make
sure everyone knows that they can do that.
a huge range of fruit trees in the orchard , bearing
eaters and cookers in every colour shape and size.
We’re still learning about their different ripening
times and some take ages. If you walk up through
the orchard you may yet find some apples there, as well
as hazelnuts on the bushes.
Moss is also a rewarding place to walk at this time of
the year. Red squirrels have been spotted regularly and
there’s a huge array of mushrooms and
toadstools. The Portmoak Community Woodland
Steering Group have no wish for the fine autumn days to
end but we are waiting for a spell of wet weather to
give us the right conditions to replant the sphagnum
moss which we rescued before the mulching work in
August. The exact method hasn’t been decided but
one or two of the committee are rather keen on firing it
across the bog through water pistols, so watch out for
strange antics in the weeks ahead.
activity: mulching: August 2014
The restoration of the
raised peat bog in the centre of the wood moved to the
next level with major works on the core area of the
sphagnum moss ahead of the work starting and will
replace it later to give regeneration a jump start.
The reason for this
radical piece of conservation work is that too many
areas of the peat dome were remaining dry, despite
damming the ditches and removing the birch and pine
Batchelor of the Portmoak Community Woodlands Steering
Group said: “We need to get rid of the tree stumps and
other raised areas in order to make the central area as
boggy as possible. Achieving true bogginess should
also make it difficult for trees to grow back and
improve conditions for bog-loving plants and insects.”
The mulching work –
churning up the surface of the bog - was carried out by
large machine and took most of August to complete. The many creatures of the
Moss weren't forgotten. An environmental assessment was
done to ensure protection of the small population of red
squirrels, while important breeding places for
dragonflies and damselflies were excluded from the
working areas. Also, the timing of the work was planned
to commence at the end of the ground nesting bird
Heritage recommended the work and are supporting
improvements to the raised bog habitat through their
Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project . The
Gannochy Trust are supporting access works.
textures: Thursday 24 July 2014
The RSPB ran a series of
guided sensory explorations of the Loch Leven Landscape,
including an event on wild textures at Kilmagad Wood.
and butterflies: Saturday 28 June 2014
Duncan Davidson, the
butterfly recorder for the East of Scotland and moth
recorder for Fife and Kinross, gave a hugely
entertaining and informative talk in the festival
marquee, attended by 18 adults and 8 children. He
pointed out that learning how to identify butterflies
was easier than learning the alphabet as there are only
22 species of butterfly in Fife and Kinross.
After the talk we headed
up onto the hill above the Bishop-shire golf course, to
put our new-found knowledge to the test. Of course, it
wasn’t quite as easy as it sounded, to identify
butterflies flitting through the undergrowth, but we saw
plenty including a number of pretty ‘ringlets’, meadow
brown and the lovely common blue.
Duncan had also set up a
moth trap in Kilmagadwood, on the previous evening, and
caught some weird and wonderful specimens, including the
poplar hawk-moth and the brightly coloured garden tiger
and Damsels of Moss and Loch: Wednesday 25 June
A ‘damsels and dragons’ walk
in Portmoak Moss led by George Guthrie of Butterfly
Conservation, attracted 15 adults and 2 children.
The group walked either side of the main drainage ditch
across the peat dome and, equipped with nets and jars,
hunted damselflies and dragonflies. Thanks to
George’s expertise we saw all 3 damselflies present in
midsummer. Seen close-up, they are beautiful insects,
very brightly coloured. We caught the large
red as well as blue-tailed and azure damselflies.
in the Moss: 26 April 2014
Our local bird recorder for
Perth and Kinross, Scott Paterson, has been surveying
birds in the Moss for a while and he led a walk to see
what we could see and hear: in the end we got 27
species. The full list is
volunteers work day: 21 February 2014
A number of SEPA
volunteers, some who came from as far away as Dingwall,
worked on the south side of the path to dig out
feeder drains from the main drains. This will
make the dry areas in-between much wetter. Everyone
worked hard and they produced 17 drains in a couple of
hours! It will be interesting to see the effect on
the water table of this little experiment.
Supper: 25 January 2014
legendary Burns Supper - and once again the well oiled
PCW team did the imortal poet proud. And, as usual, they
were especially well-oiled by the end of the evening.
The haggis was once again dealt with by Dr Carr. When
Bill adresses the haggis, it stays addressed. This
time it was videoed, so soon you will be able to watch
again without needing to send your clothes to the
cleaners. The immortal memory was by Gerda Stevenson -
very classy - and the Portmoak Players and Mike and
Gerry set the whole thing to music.
tree event: 15 December 13
A great success. Christmas trees were all free, but a lot
of people gave donations so we raised a bit more money for
the coffers - which one way or another will all be spent
on our community woodlands.
Moss lantern event: 25 October 13
The first lantern event in Portmoak Moss, on October 25th,
was a huge success with more than 230 people turning up. The
rain cleared up in time for around 400 tea-lights to be
distributed along a mile of paths, inviting people to
wander deep into the woods. Some brought their own
home-made lanterns while pupils at Portmoak Primary
constructed a giant paper lantern dragonfly which greeted
visitors as they made their way round the Moss.
There were other surprises, in the shape
of magical woodland characters like ‘Thumblefin’
(the elf-goblin) and two flying fairies (pictured). And
mysterious music provided by a phantom woodwind player
(Krys Hawryszczuk), who no-one could detect amongst the
Real wildlife was also on display,
thanks to George Guthrie of Butterfly Conservation, who
set up a moth trap to help people identify and count the
moths that make Portmoak Moss their home.
Walkers also enjoyed hot chocolate and camp fire
music before they headed home.
This was the first evening
of its kind organised by Woodland Trust Scotland with
help from the Portmoak Community Woodland Group. Jill
Donachie of WTS said: “Thanks to Lochend Farm Shop for
hosting our shuttle bus transfers, to Tullibole Castle
for use of their fairylights and to the many volunteers
from around the community who helped everything run
smoothly. It wouldn’t have been half as good without
the large Heath Butterfly: 14
Scotland and Portmoak Community Woodlands Group ran a
butterfly event. Duncan Davidson, of
Butterfly Conservation, trapped and identified
moths and butterflies on Portmoak Moss on the
Saturday night and Sunday morning, then he showed us on
what he found: about 70 species, with the most populous
having more than 200 individuals. The event was well
attended with more than 30 people taking part in a walk
over the the Moss, especially looking for tte Large
Heath Butterfly. Which we failed to find. Oh well, it
was still great fun and we learnt a lot.
SNH funding secured:
Major success from
the Boginar! As a result of the ideas generated and
the connections made we have secured a significant
piece of funding from Scottish Natural Heritage to
improve the dams, inhibit unwanted birch
regeneration and develop a more detailed management
plan. Work is underway.
Fruit tree pruning
course: 10 March 13
We held was a well
attended training day on how to prune fruit trees, run
by "The apple man", the guy that we buy our fruit
Burns Supper: 26 January
Our advice was not to
miss the legendary Burns Supper and once again
our sound guidance was heeded by the people of
Portmoak: it was another sell out success. As usual,
the poor haggis had a rough time of it, being spread
to the four winds, and the four walls, the ceiling and
the floor by our local medical practitioner, who's
good at that sort of thing.
PYO Christmas tree: 16
Christmas is too
commercialised - but that didn't stop us have having a
pick-your-own christmas tree fund raising event on 16
December 2012. Big turn out, lots of trees taken and
donations made. Many people never got any further than
the mulled wine table.
Boginar: 16 November 12
In order to prepare
for the next management plan, we are organising a
Boginar on 16 November 2012. A number of experts in
various aspects of the restoration, management and
development of bogs and mosses will gather to discuss
options for Portmoak Moss. Topics include
biodiversity, habitat, ecology, hydrology and
community engagement. The agenda is here
and the final report is here.
2009 - 2012
We're alive and well and still busy. Too
busy in fact to keep the website up to date - sorry about
that. Big things have included buying the plot of land on
Bishop Hill just above the Kirk and doing a lot of
planting. In addition to native trees we have created a
large community orchard which includes many apple trees,
cherries, plums and pears. And of course, every year has
started off with the legendary Burns Supper. Pieces of
Burns Supper: January 09
Another haggis, another sticky end.
And yet again... Once more ExxonMobil
generously provided a grant under their Volunteer
Involvement Programme to help our activities.
Lunatics in charge of
the asylum: Nov 09
In order to help to buy the new piece of
woodland, we put in just about our entire bank balance.
We needed to raise some more money fast, but nobody but
a mad person would gives us a donation. No problem -
this is Portmoak and if there's one thing that we've got
So it was Sing-Along-A-Sound-Of-Music.
|and another two Austrians
A bishop and a nun
and another two Austrians
A brown paper package tied
up in string
More brown paper etc
and another brown paper
package, this time with a hill, also made out of
Edelweiss and a bee which
Some favourite things
Part of a herd of goats
I am sixty, going on
(And another Austrian)
|That's enough nuns, Austrians, goats,
brown paper packages,...
Thanks to Dick
Crighton for recording this marvellous event for
posterior. It was one for the anals.
Another nun, another
Two more nuns, one girl in
The empire expands:
We have now bought more land for planting
trees. This is the field that runs from the Scotlandwell
access to Bishop Hill - you know the one, it's got the
styles. The Woodland Trust have raised enough
funds to cover acquisition and costs for basic
access works, tree planting and maintenance over the
first five years. The purchase was finalised on 31
October 2008. The actual design of the
woodland and access to it will have a large
input from the local community and there will be
publicity about this early in the new year - watch
this space for details. We expect tree planting will
take place in 2009 at the earliest. This land is oor
Burns Supper: January 08
It was the usual full house, with
the haggis once again being dispatched by Dr Carr. The
poor wee thing never stood a chance and we expect to be
picking bits of it out of the cracks in the woodwork for
several months yet. It was led to its final execution by
Ms Carruthers who was got up in various items of black and
white tat in lieu of proper Poozie Nancy attire. The
bagpipes of Cameron McArthur muffled its last cries and
Fifi Cooper undertook the Selkirk Grace in its honour.
The Immortal Memory was by Lesley Riddoch - that's right -
the wee lassie who's on the telly - and John Williams in
his address to the lassies went into detail about hurdies
and distant hills. Wendy MacPhedran's reply was
pretty cutting about the attributes of the local chaps,
but since that included the webmaster there won't be any
more details. Mike McGinness had the short straw of doing
Mosses, Waters, Staps and Styles, which is the bit where
everyone gets telt what the Portmoak Steering Team
pretend to do when they have their meetings in the pub. He
went into bog snorkeling in great depth (geddit). For those
who didn't receive sufficient detail, an impenetrable graph is provided
This year the Portmoak Haydn Players became the Portmoak
Portmoak players - they gave us some Burns songs played to
their own new orchestrations. The offenders were Jo
Falla, as usual caterwauling in public, and barely
drowned out by Irene Barnes, Krys Hawryszczuk and Mairie
Leggatt, puffing, blowing and plunking respectively.
Further musical entertainment was by Gerry Marshall,
plucking and wailing.
Then there were the poems. The Burns Police will have
noticed that there wasn't a single legit one. Elaine
Carruthers got stuck into Kate O'Shanter and Jeff Gunnell,
showing great sympathy towards Mr and Mrs Batchelor's
recent traumatic battle with nature, gave us 'Frae a
Mouse'. You get that next, but not before we lay the blame
for the whole ghastly event firmly at the the door of Dave
Batchelor who was the Chairman and overall mastermind.
Frae a Mouse
thought I was a tim'rous beast
An' cats put panic in my breast
But though I'm sma' I'm no' the least
O' all your trouble,
For insulation's a fine feast
When turning homes to rubble.
your den wi' comfy seating,
Playing, laughing, drinking, eating,
Your pleasures long, but mine are fleeting,
Outside in the cold.
Yours all due to central heating,
Mine, brief moments hold.
But lofts are cosy,
like a womb,
And in I creep from cold and gloom,
And chewing plastic plan your doom.
On pipes, sharp teeth I try.
And downstairs, in your human room,
You're not so warm... or dry.
wee-bit housie, now in ruin!
The ceilings are all water spewin',
The carpets now all need renewin':
A lang damage roster,
An' all December tradesmen queuin'
Tae say, "That'll cost yer!"
The loss adjuster's
The list o' damage that I give,
Frae pipes all leaking like a sieve.
Your mattress in the bin.
And you all must away tae live,
At Lomond Country Inn.
So now I've won. My
home's all free
From pesky people chasing me.
No cats, no dogs, no repartee:
I've won my glory!
I'm even on the BBC,
In wee-bit newsie story.
But though I niver
thought it twice,
You'll now tak' pesty man's advice,
The best laid schemes o' Men an' Mice,
We cannae forward map.
My outcome, just a throw o' dice,
'Tween poison and the trap.
So now I'm gone, but so
But you'll be back, but I might too,
For like all nature we must sue,
To live through winter weather.
Not killin' many for the few,
It's Mice an' Men t'gether!
And again... ExxonMobil generously provided
yet another grant under their Volunteer Involvement
Programme to assists with our activities.
Burns Supper: January
07: press report by Margaret Crighton
It was a full house'in Portmoak Hall on
January 27 for the annual Bums Supper organised by
Portmoak Community Woodland Group. For the first time,
dapper Dave (Batchelor) gave up his chairman's seat to a
lady, Elaine Carruthers, who warmly welcomed everyone.
Cameron McArthur started off the evening by piping in
the haggis which was carried in by Elaine's younger
daughter Louise, dressed as Poosie Nancy. Young Jack
McDonnell confidently gave the Selkirk Grace then Dr
Bill Carr addressed the haggis and in his swashbuckling
way, while wielding his claymore, broke the plate! The
Immortal Memory was given with great clarity, enthusiasm
and knowledge by Lenny Herd, who is an ex-president of
the Paisley Burns Society. He is a good friend of Dave Batchelor and both
play in the Scottish Jazz All Stars Band. The reason for
Dave's absence from the chairman's seat was revealed
when he gave a very humorous 'Address to the Lasses' and
then the reply, befitting the atmosphere and occasion,
was given by his wife Louise! During the evening, the
musical entertainment was provided by the Portmoak Haydn
Players — Irene Barnes, Louise Batchelor, Krys
Hawryszczuk and Mairie Leggatt as the instrumentalists
with the singers Jo Falla and John Batchelor (Baritones)
and the indomitable Jessie Pryde (Dave's mother,
Soprano). An excellent 'Bill of Fare' was provided by
Richard Scott, Kinross, which included Scotch Broth, the
traditional haggis, neeps and tatties followed by the
pudding Tipsy Laird' The annual report of the work done
in the Moss, entitled Mosses, Waters, Slaps and Stiles'
was well presented by Bob McDonnell (Jack's dad) and
interspersed with the speeches and eating was the
communal singing of a number of Burns's songs — 'Comin'
thro' the rye', 'Rantin' Rovin' Robin', 'A Man's a man
for a' that', 'Green Grow the Rashes, O' and 'Scots Wha
Hae'. There was a large raffle with the first prize
being one of Matt Hogg's handcrafted wooden bench seats
— the timber having been taken from the Moss. The lucky
winner was none other than the sword brandisher — Dr
Bill Carr The Community Woodland Group would like to
thank the following for their kind donations, in
alphabetical order Buchan's Garage, Diageo, Matt Hogg,
Lochend Farm shop (Stackyard Kitchen), Loch Leven
Larder, Lomond Country Inn, Turfit, Well Inn and
Wellside Motors. The excellent evening concluded with
the traditional singing of' ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
ExxonMobil generously provided a grant
under their Volunteer Involvement Programme to assists
with our runniing costs.
Management Plan for
Kilmagad Wood: 16 November 2006
The draft Management Plan for Kilmagad Wood
was discussed. Key document are below.
Woodland and Craft Event
at Portmoak Moss: 7 October 2006
Event to help the Woodland Trust Scotland
and the Portmoak Community Woodland Group to restore the
raised bog at Portmoak Moss. Young birch trees were
removed. A trained craftsman demonstrated
techniques for making tools and jewellery from wood. One
delighted member was able to make the perfect present
for his wife: a broomstick.
Kinross Show: 12 August
As usual, we
were at the Kinross show. As a little fund-raiser we
were able to sell some trees which we had taken from the
Moss the previous week.
Biodiversity day: 18
In March 2006 we ran a biodiversity day,
supported by funds from the Scottish Executive
Biodiversity Action Grant Scheme. Here's what went on,
along with some of the presentations.
ExxonMobil generously provided a grant
under their Volunteer Involvement Programme to assists
with the costs of producing our 2006 Portmoak Community
The Portmoak Community Woodland
Steering Team organise a Burns supper each year.
It's always a sell out success,
with top notch speakers, musicians and reciters.
The haggis is dispatched by Dr Bill Carr. It's
not exactly clear why you need a medical degree
to dissect a haggis, but anyway, it's handy to
have him on hand just in case he pole-axes one
of the audience while he's at it.
Look out for publicity fliers in
January. Don't miss it: book early.