Fiona’s unusual first day

I have worked at BFT for just over half a year now, so I thought I would take this opportunity to tell a tale of my first encounter with the staff and trustees, following on from my interview and acceptance of the job.

With some trepidation, I agreed to meet Rosalind (the chairman), at the edge of Edinburgh for the December staff and trustees outing.  I had been offered the job at BFT only the week before and had now agreed to venture deep in the Wild Heart of Southern Scotland to Talla & Gameshope and I wasn’t quite sure what I was letting myself in for.

The weather could have been worse, it was at least not snowing, but we had some tremendous downpours.  The instructions I had received said, we were having a walk and I should wear my wellies. This lulled me into the false sense of security that we would not be walking very far.

After leaving the main road from Edinburgh, we drove up a steep rutted track to the car park.  The road to Talla & Gameshope passes the Talla Reservoir, which provides drinking water for Edinburgh.  At the entrance to the site, Nic gave a quick introduction and orientation to those of us for whom this was the first trip to Talla & Gameshope.  As we walked up the track, I had my first glimpse of the vastness of the valley.  Above the bothy, we climbed up the valley side to take a closer look at the newly planted trees.  The weather closed in and we retreated to the shelter of the bothy for lunch.  Next to the bothy is the barn, which is currently being converted into work party sleeping accommodation.

After viewing the barn in torrential rain, we briefly walked higher into the valley to view Donald’s Cleuch  and then returned to the cars for some much needed soup in a local pub.  This was a chance to catch up with some of the Trustees who had sensibly decided not to brave the wild weather and had embarked on a lower level tree-tube collecting adventure instead.

By the end of the day, I had received a crash course in BFT and had a sore neck from nodding so much.  Everyone was of course very friendly, although as we came off the hill Rosalind slightly alarmingly congratulated me on surviving!

Learn more about the past, present and future of the Borders Forest Trust in our new book, ‘A Journey in Landscape Restoration’.