Guided Walk at St Abb’s Head

Saturday 10th June 10.20 – 3.00

A walk on the National Trust’s St Abb’s Head reserve to look for flora and birdlife. Good paths but some steep sections – a good level of fitness is required. Call for car share details. Meet at the visitor centre next to the car park (NT913674). Venue charges an addmission fee: adult £5.00, child £3.00.

Contact Peter Bain 0131-447 8937

Bass Rock Trip

Sat 28th May 10:30 (TBC) to 15:00 – Sea Bird Centre & Bass Rock
Visit to Seabird Centre, North Berwick and boat trip to Craigleith and Bass Rock. The boat trip is likely to last around 1 hour. The start time is TBC, depending on the tides and schedule.  Cost approx £20 for boat trip and day ticket to sea bird centre.  Please contact Gordon Swann soon on 0131 334 4769 as places are in short supply on weekends and are going fast.

Entertaining and Educational Evening in Linlithgow

There was a good turnout for the lecture at Linlithgow Burgh Halls on Tuesday evening. The two speakers gave an insight into the issues faced in reviving waterways; recovering from our industrial past while not ignoring current pollution causes, with particular focus on invasive species.

Alison Baker from the River Forth Fisheries Trust gave us an informative talk on the issues seen in the Forth area. Harry Millar from the River Avon Federation focused on waterways local to Linlithgow, presenting inspiring images of the recovery of the River Avon.

This was a fundraising event run jointly with Linlithgow’s Burgh Beautiful – Linlithgow won a silver gilt in Britain in Bloom last year when representing Scotland in the ‘town’ category. The sum of £167.32 was raised in total when divided between the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Burgh Beautiful, means that both organisations are the better of by £83.66.

Thanks to all involved in the organisation and delivery of an excellent lecture in an ideal venue.

Chris Davidson


Sunday 31st May 12 noon to 5pm

Visitors given opportunity to experience wonders of Edinburgh bog during ‘Scottish Biodiversity Week’

The Scottish Wildlife Trust will welcome the public to its Red Moss Wildlife Reserve near Balerno in Edinburgh on Sunday 31st May, giving visitors the chance to explore one of the most endangered wildlife habitats in the Scottish countryside. Guided tours will be one of the many free activities that will be on offer throughout the day. This will give people a chance to engage with Scottish wildlife at a rare peatland area.

As a raised bog, Red Moss is one of the few remaining peatlands in Scotland. They are extremely rare wildlife habitats, home to many species that can only live in such environments.

With experts on hand, the Red Moss Open Day is set to reveal secrets behind this special place, with a whole host of activities on offer during this free afternoon. From pond-dipping to a wildlife quiz, visitors will be able to find out more about the plants and animals living there. The reserve is situated just one mile south of Balerno on the north side of the Pentland Hills, 9 miles south-west of Edinburgh and about 1 mile south of Balerno. Car parking is available in Threipmuir Car Park adjacent to Red Moss of Balerno Wildlife Reserve (grid reference OS Landranger, Map 65. NT 164 637).  Red Moss Wildlife Reserve Open Day is on Sunday 31st May from 12 noon to 5.00 pm. It is free admission but voluntary contributions are welcomed. It is advised that visitors wear appropriate clothing and be prepared for the weather

Dancing Grebes on Linlithgow Loch. 28 March 2015

It was a wild and wet Saturday morning but 14 of us were undaunted and the Great-crested Grebes rewarded us.  There were three pairs, a couple of single males, a dabchick or two and lots of tufted ducks and coots.  However, it was to see the grebes display that we had to brave the early rising.  While not a full display with head waving, shaking weed and ruffles raised, one pair did rise up and beautifully weave themselves around each other for all of a minute and then sail off.

A dozen of us then retired to the warmth of the West Port Hotel for a hearty breakfast and good conversation.

Averil Stewart

Photos courtesy of Sarah Forbes.

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Outing to Aberlady. 11 October 2014

This was the most rewarding outing to Aberlady that I can remember. The tide was out but starting to creep back in on a very fine autumnal afternoon. Our group consisted of 23 adults and a babe of 8 months in a backpack carrier. The warden John Harrison was ready and waiting for us.

From the car park we could see Widgeon, Curlew, Barnacle Geese, Oystercatchers and a single Ruff. A telescope was set up by John in order to give us a better look. As we crossed the bridge a Kingfisher was spotted and from the other side we had a good view of a couple of Greenshank. We proceeded onwards and the sightings just got better. As flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover swept around us we spied a solitary Scaup and a group of smartly turned out Shelduck. A large flock of Pink Footed Geese were spotted way out on the sandbars. Mallards, Starlings, Swans, Herons and even 3 Little Egret all made appearances. As a beautiful sunset began to build the Geese skeins started to come in overhead and many of us lingered to see more arrive. The weather remained clear on a lovely evening.

Altogether it was an excellent outing in the right place at the right time, Aberlady at its best. Thanks to John for helping us to see so much.

Jill Neufeld

Storm damage and its management at Beecraigs Country Park. 25 October 2014

Eleven of us gathered at Beecraigs Country Park on 25 October for a walk and talk by the Ranger, Tracey Smith. It was a cool and breezy autumn day and we walked from the deer farm, round by the loch for trout fishing and through magnificent cathedral-like glades to reach the areas of major storm damage. We returned by the field where butterfly orchids grow, past the BBQ site, children’s play area and trim centre to end up back at the visitors centre and car park.

The great storm of 3rd January 2012 cut swathes through the trees, with winds of 100 mph funnelling round Cockleroy. The forest had originally been planted with non-native species. For a period before West Lothian Council took it over, the trees were poorly managed and hence had become vulnerable to extra strong winds. Once a swathe is down, those then exposed all too soon become vulnerable. Shallow up-ended root plates, like rows of dominoes, tell of the devastation in very specific areas.

But damage brings opportunities. Holes where there were root plates form pools, new trees are self-seeded where light has been let in, broad-leaves are being planted. A thirty year plan is being developed.

Beecraigs Country Park nestles high in the Bathgate Hills, just south of Linlithgow. It covers over 900 acres offering much to the visitor. Our thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm shown by our guide, Tracey. Perhaps this will be followed up with a lecture one day. For more info see

Averil Stewart

SWT Lothian Reserves Welcome Sponsored Cyclists celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Scottish Wildlife Trust

SWT 50th Anniversary_sponsored_cycleride_All 20 SWT reserves in the Lothians are open to be visited by the public at any time but this coming weekend the 17th and 18th May two cyclists are starting a sponsored cycle ride in celebration of the Trust’s 50th anniversary on our local reserves and reserve volunteers are going to be there to welcome and encourage them on their way! This means that if you wish to be shown around a reserve, perhaps one that you have always meant to visit near you that you have never managed before, take this opportunity to encourage the cyclists and get a personal tour of the reserve by an SWT Local.
The times that volunteers will be on the reserves to welcome the cyclists (who are: Tim Duffy your SWT Lothians Members Centre convenor, and Paul Ritchie SWT Director of Finance) are as follows (cyclists plan to arrive near the start of these time slots but they may lag as the day goes on….!):

Saturday 17th May:

Erraid Wood: 8.00 AM to 10.00 AM – Helen Mackay – the start of the cycling!

Milkhall Pond: 9.15 AM to 9.45 AM David Ross

Roslin Glen: 10 AM to 12 noon David Ross

Hadfast Valley: 11 AM to 1 PM Sheena Irving

Linn Dean: 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM Rory Sandison

Brock Wood: 2 PM to 4 PM Glen Gibb

Woodhall Dean: 2.30 PM to 3.30 PM Lesley Fairweather

East Lammermuir Deans: 3.30 PM to 5.30 PM Lesley Fairweather

Thornton Glen: 4 PM to 6 PM Colin Beckett

Home to a muscle relaxing bath!

Sunday 18th May:

Bawsinch (8 AM start) and Johnston Terrace reserves will be visited en-route but will not be manned as key access and regular open days are routinely offered

Pepper Wood: 10 AM to 12 noon Ken Knowles

Addiewell Bing: 2 PM to 4 PM Gavin and Averil Stewart (estimated arrival of cyclists 2.30 PM)

Hermand Birchwood: 3 PM to 5 PM Jim and Fiona Hewlett

Red Moss of Balerno: this is a full open day from 12 noon to 5 PM with pond dipping, quizzes, guided walks – the cyclists arrival at the end of their weekend visiting 20 reserves around the Lothians is estimated at 5pm (so please wait for us reserve committee members who are manning this open day! We will ring you with progress reports!)

If you want to encourage the cyclists by sponsoring them, their justgiving page for SWT is: