It’s not getting any drier on the reserve. The rain continues to fall, the lochs remain high and we quietly despair of it ever drying up! Of course, this has a huge effect on the paths and I’m afraid some bits are muddy, but our main concern is flowing water on paths. This can erode the path surface and, in the worst case, rip out gullies up to a foot deep in the middle of the path. That sort of damage takes a fair bit of work (and cash) to repair so the best thing we can do is keep the drains clear. We have a lot of drains to clear though, and its wet, mucky work. Occasionally, it’s been made harder by people damming drains or culverts, which have then overflowed and damaged paths. I know it’s mostly kids, and it’s mostly fun, but some of the rocks are so big that mum or dad have clearly helped. So, folks, please, if you do dam a stream, drain or burn, please un-dam it before you go… the water may go further than you realise. It’s been so wet we have also had to dig lots of new side drains to shift the water away from the paths. In this picture, all of the water going down the drain was on the path before we diverted it.
Another new drain, nicely meandered so it looks natural (actually, we couldn’t dig it in a straight line due to rocks and roots).
However, drains are very little use when a spring rises bang in the middle of the path! This took two of us half a day to fix and I think we cursed the culvert into place! But at least there isn’t a big hole in the middle of the path now.
Elsewhere, signs of spring are creeping onto the reserve. You can clearly see fresh grasses and growth of Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage here.
The ducks are displaying furiously now and I saw a couple of mallard mating this week. If the weather stays mild, it’s possible there could be ducklings on the reserve by March…unless we get a late spring like last year.