28th February 2012
As you wander up the path just past the farmhouse at Aberarder, have you ever wondered what the inscriptions on the stone plaques are all about? (If you’ve not noticed them before they’re 50m past the farmhouse embedded in the ground just after the wall). The National Nature Reserve at ‘Meggie is (in part) about encouraging native hardwoods to flourish again in an area where they were once the dominant species. Plantations of non-native softwoods make our mountains and glens look very different to they way they used to 150 years ago.
Really old birch trees survive at Meggie (you walk through sparse old stands of them on your way up the path in Coire Ardair – see above) but young saplings haven’t survived intensive browsing by red deer and so few survived to replace the ancient stock. Carefully monitored deer culling at Meggie ensures that deer numbers are kept at a level where more saplings survive than was the case before deer control.
Young birch now get the opportunity to flourish (see photo above) hence the poetry on the stone slabs. Photo also shows current ‘state of play’ on Sron a Ghoire, the mountain immediately adjacent to the farmhouse.
Above. Glide cracks opening up on Sron a Ghoire – close to a popular ascent/descent route. If it did slide it would give you an almighty shock if you were nearby but is pretty limited in scale. Full-depth avalanches are outside the normal scope of our forecasts (a bit like cornice collapse) but current weather conditions are encouraging these things to look potentially mobile.
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