Saltmarsh study at Toscaig
Lucy Miller, a fourth year undergraduate Geography student at the University of St Andrews has been carrying out investigations on the impacts of land management practices upon saltmarsh carbon stocks. The overall purpose of this project is to question whether a natural balance can be found between profiting management practices, and aiding climate change mitigation. Lucy is concentrating upon nine field sites around the Scottish coastlines as part of her dissertation - including Toscaig's saltmarsh.
Her research includes running a transect (using a measuring tape) from the shoreline through the saltmarsh site and collecting 5 sediment samples from each sector to assess relevant land management practices – i.e. migratory bird activities, grazing practices or artificial drainage systems.
The Trust is carrying out a routine soil analysis on all in-bye grassland fields on the Estate this Spring. These will provide information on soil pH and nutrient levels which will then inform the liming and fertiliser requirements.
Hartfield House complex
There is a huge amount of work going on at Hartfield. Four en-suite double and family rooms are nearing completion, and overnight staff accommodation has also been installed. The whole of The Bunkhouse has been decorated, is looking fresh and bright, and is fully booked with guests over the coming months. The team are now moving on to the main house, painting and cleaning for the spring opening. New signage is in the process of being produced, and the parking area has been relaid.
Bookings are going extremely well, and we have an excellent team preparing for the rush of the summer!
The Trust secured a donation of £3,000 to Shieldaig Community Association’s Play Park fund.
The Trust’s hill radios have been out of commission as a result of faulty equipment at the mast on the top of the Bealach. A new antenna was installed on the mast last week in the midst of some awful weather and the radios are again in working order. The planned deer count can now be undertaken in March as part of a South West Ross Deer Management Group wide deer count.
The Trust is working with some of the neighbouring estates, including Kinloch and Ben Shieldaig to plan signage which warns members of the public about wildfire risks. This initiative is part of Estate Wide Fire Planning programmes.
An Applecross Tourism Group has been formed, led by the Applecross Trust and comprising members of the community. The aim of the group is to develop a tourism strategy for Applecross, that will address the significant change in visitor numbers, and behaviour. The strategy will seek to find ways of managing the Applecross tourist activity in a way that is beneficial to the local community, the environment and the wildlife, as well as providing a welcoming and enjoyable place for people to visit.