Community Company Caretakers Spring Update - May 2017 The grass is certainly upon us in force therefore most of the teams time is spent on our grassland management regime. This year the community company have taken on the grounds maintenance for all Albyn Housing areas of Fort Augustus. This includes the banks of Bunoich Brae, irregular shapes in Abertarff and some flat areas at Jenkins Park. When our core team of four is in we tackle the larger areas that is required of us and store up the smaller, sometimes quicker tasks for when its just three in the team. The team have also installed a new dog waste bin just on the corner as you enter Lovat Terrace. This area is a hot spot for landmines so hopefully this will help remedy the situation. We pride ourselves on keeping the villages tidy so please pick up after your dog / dogs. Our path and landscaping improvement project at Strathoich Cemetery has certainly challenged the team over the winter and well into Spring but now we feel we have achieved some good progress and our final stage for the paths is to spread a layer of fine path dust over the existing surface and then vibrate into place. Backfilling the timber edges with soil took longer than expected. This was pretty much all done by hand, shovelled on and off, riddled thoroughly and then seeded. Now its all in place and when the seed takes hold it will enhance the path edges tenfold. The caretakers are also in the middle of righting our wrongs and helping reinstall the Information point in Invermoriston. The squad were tidying up an overgrown corner with fly tipped boulders etc when a branch of a tree we were felling struck the side of the old information point and damaged the structure. However, our intentions are good and we will certainly do what we can to reinstate what was there or help improve in any way we can. Finally, as the villages are rapidly increasing in visitor numbers I would like to point out we need as much space in the main skips as we can which are located in the main carpark. Therefore can I encourage anyone who desires to rid themselves of garden waste or vegetation then please donít put it in the skips. I would rather you just approached myself and asked if we could help out by composting the waste. The answer wonít always be yes but all you have to do is ask. Thanks for reading once again and enjoy the attached images. Glen Campbell Current and Ongoing Landscaping and improvement works Update - Mar 17 The Community Company Caretaking team have been undertaking many landscaping enhancement projects throughout the winter months. The mild weather has enabled the team to carry many tasks which have been in much need of attention. Projects have included re-structuring woodland and shrub amenity banks, flower bed improvements, tub rearrangement and planting, drainage enhancing, chipper machine works and recycling the chipped material amongst many other tasks. There are numerous objectives behind our re-structuring work within the wooded and shrub areas. 1. Aesthetically enhancing each area for all to appreciate. 2. Letting much needed light into the ground layer. 3. Enhancing existing wildflower populations and the encouragement of more. 4. Creating the right habitat conditions for a wider number of target species, not just dominant scrub. 5. Thinning out invading exotic tree species and encouraging a mixture of native species throughout. 6. Brashing trees to shoulder height enabling access underneath for future and ongoing management such as litter picking, spot spraying and strimming. Our management should also discourage people from throwing their rubbish into these areas. We have also been busy with the use of a diesel powered wood-chipper courtesy of the Highland Council. Throughout the autumn and winter months we accumulated many branches from the villages by either pole pruning, wind-blown or tree management workings. Disposing and transporting all these branches has certainly been challenging and hard work. However, this waste product, once driven through a chipper has been recycled and used as a thick mulch layer on all the appropriate raised flower and ornamental shrub beds in the villages. The chipper has either been used right on site or at our current composting area. The team also identified hidden corners which have been crying out for improvements. These have included station road corner, main car park raised beds and much needed drainage improvement works in numerous locations. We hope you enjoy the attached images alongside the text and should anyone have any thoughts on how we can enhance the villages further then please just approach one of the directors or any member of staff with your ideas. Thanks. Glen Campbell