If a walker battled their way up the Gameshope to the bothy on a wild and wet Saturday night 9 days ago, gritting their teeth against the horizontal sleet and rain, they would have been delighted to see a candle burning in the window only to be dismayed on entering to find the place packed not with grim and determined hikers but a great crowd of 20 or so jolly tree planters. So ended the first of our two wonderful days getting over 5,000 birch, oak, willow and a few hazel, alder, rowan and aspen scattered in carefully chosen places along the south side of the burn. Come back in 10 years time and the hypothetical walker would find the walk up the bothy transformed, sheltered by patches of young native woodland.
In fact the Saturday was largely dry enabling everyone to get on with the planting unhindered, but we were very glad to get into the bothy that evening. Everyone who stayed over camped bar one and during the night it cleared to give us an exceptionally fine, sharp sunny day.
Those who stayed were joined by a steady trickle of yet more planters on Sunday so that by Sunday midday there were almost 40 folk driving in planting spears, banging in stakes and wrapping vole guards round spindly young plants. Not that we were ever short of trees, especially eared willow, with several thousand still to plant next spring. So we hope you will come back!
All of us from Borders Forest Trust would like to thank all the volunteers most warmly for coming to help whether you planted just a few trees or a few hundred. We could not have achieved so much without you and hope you enjoyed the weekend’s work as much as we did.
By John Thomas, BFT Trustee and volunteer