Nix's News

Morning Walk at Tigh Mor

The sun was shining and thankfully two lovely people, Andy and Sarah joined us on our last big walk for the season at Tigh Mor. From Brig O'Turk and into Glen Finglas before coming out past the famous bicycle tree. We talked forest folklore, history, flora and fauna, plus we sampled a few wild food nibbles along the way!

Loch Venachar from Drippin.

Looking Towards Glen Finglas.

Telling one of my favourite stories about fly agaric, the fairy-tale toadstool.  First I like to use a balloon and a piece of wet tissue to demonstrate how the toadstool gets it's spots. There are so many interesting stories centered around this lovely toadstool: How do Santa's reindeer fly? How does Santa fit down the chimney on Christmas Eve? Where does the saying 'going out on the p***' come from?


Morning Walk at Tigh Mor

Another gorgeous day out doing guided walks for Arthur, this time around Glen Finglas with 4 lovely couples. Lots of nice mushrooms to talk about, but not many rowan berries this year.  This is said to foretell a mild winter, but I'm not sure as there were loads of berries last year and then we had lots of rain and no snow - lots of wind though but we will have to wait and see.  This month has been an unusually dry one, you can usually only see the trees on the island pictured below in the Glen Finglas Reservoir!


Morning Ramble at Forest Hills

Two lovely couples from yesterdays walk decided to join us for a longer ramble around the Loch Ard forest.  We decided to take in the two faerie hills of the area and there were fittingly lots of fungi to look at and talk about.  We took a well earned rest at Doon Hill and enjoyed some spruce tea and biscuits before leaving our gifts and wishes on leaves for the faeries.

Doon Hill is a sacred spot for the faeries where wishes are left to naturally degrade. It's said to be unlucky to take anything from a faerie hill and they do like a nice natural gift, or maybe some honey, cheese or milk, or even to help them by collecting litter along the way.

The Minister's Pine can be seen popping out of the top of Doon Hill from a distance. This is said to mark the faerie portal which the local Minister, Rev. Robert Kirk was invited to enter in order to discover and correct unfair representations of the fae.  There are many variations of the story, but most center around his mysterious disappearance in 1692, some say to the faerie realms for protection, some say this was due to publishing their secrets, although I hear that his spirit has since been released from becoming entrapped.

 

So many LBJ's ('little brown job' mushrooms), so we were unable to identify all of them, although the big one has been created by a clever local wood carver and makes this a lovely picture to photograph.

 


Activities at Cobleland Campsite

De ja vous and here we are again, two days later :-).

Chocolate Quest

This time the quest theme was toads and four little toads joined us and did rather well answering questions (especially Nina) about them after finding chocolate tickets in Teapot Wood.  Did you know that toads shed their skin in the summer and actually eat it afterwards!  

Bushcraft & Survival

Lovely to see Harry, Angela and Mum and Dad again this year to see how much they remembered about wild foods.  We did come across this lovely mushroom just outside the campsite.  We think it's a tawny grisette, edible BUT part of the Amanita family which are mostly deadly poisonous so not worth risking! Remember, if in doubt, leave it out!!! You can tell Amanitas from the cup shape vulva at the bottom if the stem.

 

Magick Wands

From left; Rebecca was back to make a Silver Birch wand, Janet a Hazel, Billy - Willow, Zoe - Hazel, Elliot - Willow and Finley - Willow. Ooh and Will made yet another small wand.

Art & Craft

We had to cancel the Cobleland-Wealth Games unfortunately due to rain so instead some of the kids painted up some arrows for the mileage post at the ranger tent, which will point to where they live once we put them up!

 

Bat Walk

A great walk for bats as there were lots of midges out after this afternoons rain.  Georgie and her Mum Susan have probably broken a record for the most amount of bat walks in a short period of time coming on no less than four in a row.  Georgie managed to remember a lot of the bat facts so  she might be running them before long :-). Richard made a great bat for the bat and moth game, but the moths were extra fast which meant he went hungry tonight!

 

 


Cobleland Activities

Loads happening this weekend as some of the kids broke up from School for their summer holidays.  Everyone learnt lots about deer on the Chocolate Quest and young Cameron was the only one to find all hidden chocolate tickets.  There were a few forfeits to be completed though for those that got the questions wrong, but Adam came up with this beauty of a poem as one of his forfeits;

"The Ranger's are nice
They give you advice
The chocolate is nice, inside"

I really enjoyed painting Eilis's face as she created her own design which had a faerytale toadstool for a nose, a lilac faery queen on one cheek and a green flower faery on the other, all topped off with a golden and ruby crown.

Eilis and her family joined us for the Bushcraft & Survival session, it was great to see them again having first met on the site last year.  Owen was already a fan of wood sorrel and finished the session with his pockets full of natural tinder! Maeve and Owen successfully started a fire with a fire steel, but little Eilis was still recovering from a broken arm so struggled a bit with that one as her arm was still in plaster.

We saw this lovely but poisonous toadstool on the way, panther cap, the same family as the faerytale toadstool fly agaric.

The Douglas Fir area and tickling river was magical in the sunlight today!

The juicy bilberries are nearly ripe - mmmm delicious! Loads of antioxidants so really good for you and there are loads of natural remedies you can use these berries for too including; sickness and diarrhoea, respiratory complaints and even haemorrhoids!

The evening finished off with a late Dusk Walk being that the days are still so long, the bats didn't start coming out until 10:30pm.  That's a lot of scoffing and gobbling up of midges to do if they have to eat a third of their body weight every night!