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The National Trust for Scotland, the charity that conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage and Plantlife Scotland, the organisation that is speaking up for our wild flowers, plants and fungi, are holding an event at Balmacara in Wester Ross which will explore the flora that thrives in the damp, ancient forests of Scotland.
Events including guided walks and storytelling are planned for the launch of a new Plantlife Scotland leaflet exploring this important plant area on Tuesday 21 February.
Leaving from Balmacara Square, visitors will be able to explore the National Trust for Scotland’s Coille Mhór, a woodland full of native species on Scotland’s west coast.
National Trust for Scotland ranger at Balmacara estate, Gavin Skipper said:
“You do not have to travel to Brazil to experience a rainforest. There are amazing examples of the Celtic Rainforest on Scotland’s West Coast. They are teeming with life and just as fascinating. We hope that this initiative highlights these beautiful habitats to more people and encourages them out to explore.”
Polly Phillpot, Plantlife Scotland Outreach Officer, said:
"Plantlife is delighted to be working with the National Trust for Scotland in welcoming people to enjoy the mysterious and magical world of Scotland's unique Celtic Rainforests. We hope that the guided walks and leaflet we're launching will attract an increasing amount of people to discover the hidden gems of the Celtic Rainforests; small plants such as the Tree lungwort lichen or the delicate Prickly featherwort - a species of liverwort.
"Many of the lichens, mosses and liverworts that are found in these rainforests are very rare in Europe, and some are globally important. Plantlife seeks to shine a brighter light on these amazing small plants, including rare lichens such as the Norwegian Specklebelly, a UK priority species, which is found at Coille Mhór."
The programme for the day is:
Walk through the Coille Mhór - meet at 9.30am
Booking essential - 01599 566325
Visitors will be transported from Balmacara Square to Loch Achaidh na h-Inich to join staff from the National Trust for Scotland and Plantlife Scotland on a walk back through the magnificent Coille Mhór. This woodland is home to a rich diversity of unique small plant species that cover branches, trees and boulders. It is these moss, liverwort and lichen species that make Scotland’s Celtic Rainforest internationally important. Admire the views along the way and find out what makes the Coille Mhór such a special place. Find out about the associated folklore, the Stinky Sticta and the Tree lungwort.
This guided walk will last for about 3 hours and is approximately 2.5miles/4km on good surfaced paths and tracks with one moderate but rather long ascent. Bring walking boots, warm and waterproof clothing, a snack and a hot drink.
Storytelling session with Claire Hewitt - meet at 2pm in Balmacara Square
Take a short walk through the southern end of the Coille Mhór. In this magical setting, Claire will share stories and tales of the Ghillie Dhu. This is an outdoor event, so please dress for the weather. A wet weather alternative will be based indoors at the NTS Education room in Balmacara Square.
Hidden Gems of the Celtic Rainforest - meet at 2pm in Balmacara Square
Join the National Trust for Scotland ranger on an exciting trek off the beaten path as we explore the hidden beauty of the Coille Mhór. This guided walk will last around 2 hours and is approximately 2.5miles/4km passing through rough and undulating ground. Discover hidden gems in the Celtic Rainforest and hike through undisturbed woodland draped with lichen, liverwort and moss. Our walk involves crossing boggy terrain and climbing steep gradients so a high level of agility and fitness is required. Wellington boots and waterproof clothing is recommended.
For more information/ booking visit www.nts.org.uk or call 01599 566325.
To find out more about Celtic Rainforests, visit http://www.wildaboutplants.org.uk/scotland/projects/celtic-rainforests/
The charity, which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, is featuring snowdrop-themed activities at a number of key properties with renowned gardens or woodland walks during January and February. The events are part of the national Snowdrop Festival which runs until 5 March.
Among the highlights is Branklyn Garden in Perth, which joins the festival this year, drawing on the expert knowledge of its new head gardener Jim Jermyn.
Colin Wren, National Trust for Scotland Gardens & Designed Landscapes Manager said:
“Snowdrops are a cheerful reminder that our many gardens and woodlands are open for enjoyment as the days lengthen and the weather turns warmer.
“Although snowdrops feature in folklore and myth, they are not native to the UK, with mention of their import dating from around the 1500s. Today, however, the range of cultivars increases year on year and there are many different varieties planted throughout our garden properties – and for sale.”
Snowdrops can be enjoyed at the following Trust properties during this year’s Festival:
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the monthly funding scheme, which sees grants of £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects. greenspace scotland is working with Groundwork to provide support to communities in Scotland.
Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and this month shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is one of the groups on the shortlist with its ‘New Gardens’ community project, which will create a natural garden at the historic Burns Cottage in Alloway, interpreting Robert Burns’ father’s intentions for the smallholding which he called ‘New Gardens’. The space will benefit the whole community with opportunities to grow vegetables, access scenic walks and engage with their local heritage.
Property Manager Caroline Smith said:
“Burns Cottage has always been a central focus of Alloway life and we are looking forward to opening our garden out to the community, giving them access to green space, to grow fresh food and to get to know more about Burns and their local heritage at the same time.”
Voting is open in stores until 25 February. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.
Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £25 million to more than 3,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each month. At the end of each month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.
Tony McElroy, Tesco’s Head of Communications in Scotland, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for February. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see them come to life in hundreds of communities.”
Emma Halliday, Community Enabler Coordinator at greenspace scotland, said:
“We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.
“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”
The Bags of Help scheme is permanently open for applications and anyone can nominate a project at any time – whether it’s Tesco customers, colleagues or the community groups themselves. Just ask in store for more information or visit the Bags of Help website, visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp/
Tam has been associated with the National Trust for Scotland since his parents gifted his ancestral home the House of the Binns in 1944. Famously, he is pictured as a kilted schoolboy standing in the background of the handover ceremony.
Chief Executive Simon Skinner said:
"Tam was infuriating, opinionated and absolutely wonderful.
"Whatever his political achievements and status he was, to us, just 'Tam'.
"He made a point of attending our staff conferences and AGMs, characteristically offering comment and opinion on how we should be running the Trust...and he was usually right.
"His presence at the House of the Binns, along with his beloved wife, Kathleen, who manages the property, ensured that visitors often enjoyed an experience that is rare for a historic house.
"They could be greeted by Tam, who would personally show them the various objects passed down by his family, as well as an astonishing array of mementoes from his long and eventful political career.
"We are all so sad at the news that Tam has passed away. We will miss him - there will never be his like again.
"Our thoughts are with Kathleen and the family."
You can read more about Tam Dalyell's life and career in this BBC obituary.
The Trust, the charity that conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, is one of 69 charities that benefitted from this incredible funding in 2016 with £225,000 received in 2016 alone.
The news of the funding total was shared at the annual event, on Tuesday 24 January, at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh. The Charity Gala celebrated the phenomenal achievements of charities working across Great Britain and internationally that are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The event was attended by HRH Prince Charles, Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster Dermot Murnghanand TV presenter Fiona Philips. Entertainment on the night was provided by Mica Paris and Soul Nation.
Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has helped create a museum-level art gallery at Drum Castle, fund improvements to visitor facilities at Glenfinnan Monument and repair a historic window at the Hill House.
Mark Bishop, Director of Customer and Cause for the National Trust for Scotland said:
“The Trust works day in day out to look after Scotland’s heritage and it is an expensive business. The fantastic support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us to carry out vital projects all over the country, ensuring our historic collections, stunning buildings and outstanding countryside are conserved for the benefit of the nation, now and in the future.”
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Our Gala is such a special time in People’s Postcode Lottery’s calendar where we come together and celebrate the incredible amount of money raised by our players and the fantastic work carried out by the supported charities as a result of the support. We continue to be overwhelmed by the incredible support of our players and thank them for their funding.”
The instrument is thought to have belonged to Burns’ tutor William Gregg and accompanied Robert Burns’ dance lessons at the Bachelors’ Club in Tarbolton.
Over the years, a series of repairs and modernisations, including the adding of a chin cup, had been made to the violin and it used modern style strings.
Last year, the National Trust for Scotland, the charity which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, arranged for David Rattray, the Kirkcaldy-based violin expert to restore the instrument to how it would have been in the 18th century, when Burns danced to it.
The fiddle is a decorated baroque violin of provincial-type construction dating to the mid-18th century. It is made from pine, bird’s-eye maple and plain cut sycamore. It has now been repaired and restored and has been restrung with gut strings as it would have originally.
According to experts at the museum, around 1779 the adolescent Robert Burns began attending dancing lessons in Tarbolton.
Curator Sean McGlashan said:
“Burns wrote that he hoped dancing would ‘give my manners a brush.’ More likely, he realised dancing lessons were an excellent form of rebellion, as his father frowned upon such sinful behaviour.”
The violin is part of the National Trust for Scotland’s collection at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.
It is due to be played a number of times around Burns Night by acclaimed violinist Alistair McCulloch. This is the first time in many years that people will hear the violin as Burns did in 1779.
“I am very excited about playing the Gregg violin again and treat it as a real honour. I feel it is important to play music of the period, particularly the music of Niel Gow who Burns met in 1787. The tone of the instrument has a sweetness which enhances the character of these great old tunes.”
The violin will be played at the Burns Big Birthday Bash at Burns Cottage on Sunday 29 January.
For more information about events at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, visit www.burnsmuseum.org.uk.
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