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Forest Hills Activities

Magick Wands

Great wands made in Merlin's cave/corridor at Forest Hills this bank holiday Monday.

From Left: Annabel's Hazel, Camille's Oak, Harry's Rowan, Joseph's Oak, Samuel's Oak (and mini wand!), Caiden's Rowan, Tierney's Silver Birch and Jacob's Hazel - big brother got a wand for his birthday too.  You guys went before I gave out your spell making scrolls, if you didn't get them at Reception visit www.nixinnature.co.uk for a copy. (Website launch later this week).

Bat Walk

The first bat walk of the season here went well too, loads of bats hunting above the pond.  We met a lovely family who we are later taking out for Bushcraft as it was rained off (although after we cancelled it, there was not a drop of rain - typical)! Dave made a great bat although he hugged his victims rather than eating them :-).


Cobleland Activities

Well, it's tipping down right now but the sun did come out for a lot of the weekend, just to prove it here's another nice picture of the bluebells near the Douglas Fir trees.


The weekend started off with the Chocolate Quest, Jasmine and Darah (aka Chaos & Mayhem) are getting a dab hand at this.  This week's quest involved answering questions about bats.  If you get a question wrong after hunting for the chocolate ticket in Teapot Wood you have to do a forfeit - they are not all bad though!

Teapot Lodge is nearly finished, just the roof to thatch and a door.

Jasmine's forfeit was to hug a tree, not really a forfeit as it's always a good thing to do :-). This Willow tree will be more than happy to get a hug!

 


Bushcraft & Survival

Here's Will explaining the edibility test for plants to the group - just for survival situations and never for mushrooms! Also, as a young lad, I think James, stood on a young Rowan tree Will had to explain about the dangers of uprooting or cutting down this superstitious, magical tree.

 
 
 
We managed to avoid the rain on the Dusk Walk and saw lots of bats amongst the trees.  We had to go out quite late though, it wasn't even dark at 10:30 when we finished, so well done kids for staying awake!

Magick Wands

Lovely wands made in the tent this week, we need to work on a spell to keep the midges out of the tent though!
 
Wands from left: Abby's Hawthorn, Andi's Rowan, Isla's Hawthorn, Angus's Hazel and Leah's Hazel.

Bank Holiday Weekend at Cobleland

The weather wasn't too bad for a bank holiday thank goodness! Not as busy as Easter, but lots of fun and a couple of new sessions launched.

First up, Anna chose a bright pink cat for me to paint on her face, matching her top of course.

Three lovely wands, Cameron chose Silver Birch, Grace and Cara Hazel. Then the next day young Rhona was bored so she popped over to the tent to see if we could help.  She ended up making this lovely Hazel wand complete with gems and a gorgeous pendant.

Rhona's hazel wand - her birthday tree is Hazel and her sister is called Hazel too!


We launched the Chocolate Quest this week, attracting eleven hungry chocolate hunters. Sixteen tickets were hidden around the site, when one was found you had to come back to the Ranger's Tent to pick a task from the pot.  My favourites were; 'Do ten press ups' (impressed with Harris's one legged version!) and 'Hug a Tree'.  No-one found all the tickets by the end of the hour, but bonus prizes were given for a task completed successfully. Of course they had earnt their big choccy bars after all that exercise!
This game will change periodically with updated tasks all the time.  We should have made it a Star Wars themed game - May the 4th be with you and all, snort!!


Our first Dusk Walk of the year was fun having not done that version there for a few years.  Just a bit of rain, but lots of folklore to talk about with all the lovely plants coming up and we saw bats towards the end! Bat walks will be making a return soon now that they are starting to wake from their long winter sleep.

 
Primrose; said to be used to see into the faery realms, traditionally used on the graves of children in Victorian times :-(, and thirteen flowers were brought into the house at Easter to ensure a good clutch of eggs on the farm. 
 
OK, the Wacky Forth Races made a nail biting return this year- literally as Darah (the winner in pink) watches the close finish of the rafts nails in mouth!  We very nearly lost the rafts over the rope at the end as the river is still a bit high, but after getting a wet bum myself, we saved them all.  I need some waders this year! Apparently Orla's Mum has a picture of this ;-z.
 
 From bottom: Stringy thing by Lewis, Rhona snd Steele, Darah's winning raft Ninkinpoop (with the willow pentagram star), Jasmine's Rossetta, Emma's Flower, James and Evan's Diet Coke, Daniel's Dday Yday Raft, Kiana's Daisy Chain, Orla's Tansylee and Anny and Niamh's Vintage.

 Rafts pictured bottom to top
 

It's a close one - well done Darah!




The Bat Conservation Trust Collection Total

Thank you to all who joined in and supported us in raising money for the Bat Conservation Trust over the Hallowe'en period, especially Cobleland Campsite, Forest Hills and Tigh Mor. See post below for what we got up to.


Together we managed to raise £80.27 plus there is £10 so far in the bat badge collection box :-)

For more information about how your kind donations will be used have a look at the Bat Conservation Trust's website and follow and like them on Facebook.

Nighty night bats, see you next year :-)


All Hallows Eve at Tigh Mor

Unbelievably the rain held off for the two hours so that we could all enjoy our Batty Halloween Walk at Tigh Mor, our last bat walk for the season. We had earlier been making magic wands and Charlotte kindly did a rain spell for us so thanks Charlotte :-)

Thank you to all those that joined us today to help raise money for the Bat Conservation Trust. We will update everyone on the final count next week.  There were 16 magic wand makers, 9 getting their faces painted and a whopping 39 on the walk.


 Charlotte and Olivia show off their painted faces, a self designed pink cat and Olivia went for a tiger (again).  Other faces were a vampire and his wife, Frankenstein, butterflies and cats.
 

 
Charlotte's wand was made from Rowan, the best for protection so great for Halloween. All were amazingly creative and individual :-)

To celebrate the Celtic New Year we had a few tricks and treats up our sleeve for this bat walk, the bats by the way were staying in if not already in their bat caves for a snooze though. Some excellent costumes and stories by those attending. Some had to earn their treats as they used to do traditionally, so there were a few jokes kicking around too, mostly from Sam, one of which was, "how do you get a tissue to dance? Put a bit of boogie in it!"

 Death.......... just there to accompany you to the other realm!
 
 Having to resort to wellies instead of my fluffy boots! I'm trying to represent where this custom originated, with the Celts on Samhain or Summer's end. They were said to wear masks, especially animal masks to confuse mischievous spirits and faery folk who could easily slip into our realm when the veil between worlds is at their thinnest on this day.
 
 
'Death' helps Stephen the bat find lots of moths the size of children to eat for his dinner!

There were hand made pendants with protective rowan berries and elder beads for the best dressed and best spooky tales, a few apple and divining games and everyone celebrated the Celtic New Year by placing a piece of ash while releasing something unwanted in their lives in order to start afresh. We had to remind the little ones that it didn't mean getting rid of your annoying brother or sister!

 Batty Pumpkin
 
 Thanks Lesley from Cobleland Campsite for the brilliant cat and owl pumpkin.

 
Pumpkins were an extension of the mask, to scare off unwanted spirits. They would have been carved from neeps or spuds though before the Irish travelled to America taking their customs with them. Pumpkins are easier to carve though :-)

Batty Halloween Walk at Forest Hills

Well it was still raining, but we went ahead with the last bat walk of the season at Forest Hills. This one had a spooky twist as Hallowe'en is coming up giving people ideas and traditions to do on Thursday. We played traditional games and divination with apples with a few tricks and treats along the way. Thanks to all those that came along to help raise money for the Bat Conservation Trust :-)

Ken the bat perfectly demonstrates how to eat Peter the moth using echo location. 'Death' or the Grim Reaper is a constant distractor for young Peter though :-)

 

Tigh Mor Soggy Bat Walk

A huge thank you to everyone who joined us on the soggy bat walk at Tigh Mor! We charged half price due to the rain, but I think we still all had fun. Unfortunately the bats were staying in the trees for the night, probably wise and laughing at us lot in the rain trying to find them!

Andy, probably our most keenest bat ever, who actually nearly took off with his wings and not at all deterred by the rain!!

Tigh Mor Bat Walk

The bat numbers are on the downward slope now as they ready themselves for the bat cave, but a few Soprano Pipistrelle's came out to play at Tigh Mor.

Here is Conal the bat, who in his own words said "That's the most fun I've ever had in a field"! Brilliant, we love our bat suit!  His father-in-law was understandably keen to get the photo's to show the family :-)

Conal tries out his bat wings - hard to flap at the hands and not the arms though!

Flapping bat ear muscles at 200 times a second proves tricky too!

 Will explains how bats have evolved to be the amazing midge hunters that they are.

Bat Walk at Tigh Mor

Thanks for being our bat Mike, you look excellent against Tigh Mor, very spooky  :-)  It was a good night for real bats too, with Sorprano Pipistrelles and Daubenton's busy eating as much as they could in preparation for their bat caves.

Mike the bat!


Daubenton's or the water bat about to scoop up a tasty meal!
Image from Meneith Fisheries, not sure if they had a super duper photographer take the picture from there?

Upside Down Me?

30 September 2013
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Tags: Bats

Upside Down Me?

Can anyone tell me why I am suddenly upside down on my profile?? I am not when I go in to edit it - am I upside down to you guys? Maybe I have been spending too much time with bats!  As long as I don't start to become serenaded by a soprano pipstrelle bat and get whisked away to his harem only to then seek out a bat cave next month - I hate being cold!!