This year’s theme was “Watersheds and Catchments”. We learned much about the interactions between rivers and woodlands, including a thought-provoking presentation on fertility and phosphorus cycles.
During the afternoon we visited the Kinloch Woodland Trust’s project area near Shieldaig which was established in the 1990s by Richard Munday and family. On the slopes opposite are some fine mature’granny’ pines from where seeds were taken. More than 200,000 native trees have been planted. After years of heavy grazing and burning, slowly the ground is becoming more fertile and in some places beginning to support richer vegetation. Some of the young pines have already grown to almost 20 feet (6m) in height, others are less than 4ft high.
At the nearby Shieldaig fish trap we were incredibly lucky to witness a cock grilse; only the third wild salmon to have entered the trap in 12+ years since the Shieldaig Sea Trout Project started. After being measured and inspected, the fish was released to continue its upstream journey, and follow the two female grilse that were trapped and released earlier in the month. Salmon have not bred within the Shieldaig River system since the 1990s . . .