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Recent News

Moth survey: 10 March 2017

We're really lucky to have George Guthrie carry out regular surveys of the moths and butteflies on the Moss. George did his first mothing of this season on Friday 10th Mar night. It turned out to be a very good night for ‘mothing’ with a minimum temperature of 8 degC , no wind and dull. He found 21 moths of 9 species. They were: 7 Yellow Horned, 3 March Moth, 3 Chestnut, 2 Satellite, 2 Mottled Umber, 1 Pale Brindled Beauty, 1 Common Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character, 1 Pine Beauty. George also saw a Common Newt, not in the trap but crawling around on the sheet.

Burns Supper: 21 January 2017

The official press write up from the Community Newsletter is here.

The legendary one, as always with the haggis on the receiving end of stern words from Bill Carr. It was fetched in by Chloe Vlasto and Kirsty Buchanan gave it the Selkirk grace. Tich Frier immortalised the memory, the Portmoak Players played, as did Mike and Craig Lithgow, there were poems, especially "The Louse" from Fi Cooper, the lasses were praised to the heavens by Simon Kay, as were were the laddies by Jessica Kay and this year's competition to produce a new bit of Burns was won by something written and sung in Swedish by Bengt Tegner. No idea what it was about. As if that wasn't enough, under the guise of Mosses, Waters, Slaps and Stiles, Mr Batchelor informed the populace of all the good work done on their behalf by t' committee.

Christmas tree day: 11 December 2016

Once again around 80 families came got their Christmas trees from the Moss. Although our events are free, many people made generous donations and all of that money will go back into developing our community woodlands and purtting on events.

Guided bird walk: 5 November by Scott Paterson

Comments on the event included: "Very good!" "Great!" "Brilliant!"
So popular it was extended from 1 to 2 events. Attended by 19 + 12 people.
Sightings included: crossbill, gold crest, jay, red wing, field fair. Lot’s of interesting information, even on things as common as pigeons.

Apple day: 2 October 2016

Lots of fun including pressing to make apple juice; identifying types of apple; eating apple cakes, tarts, pies; all based on people scrumping their neighbours' apples. Teas and baking were provided by a team from Kinross School who are funding raising for a volunteering trip to Africa.

Visit by Japanese researchers: September 2016

We hosted the visit of a team of Japenese reseachers who are travelling through Europe looking looking at community involvement in running and managing woodland projects.

Reprofiling project: September 2016

A major piece of work, funded by LLLP and Portmoak Community Woodland Group is under way on the Moss. Read more details here.

Basically we have been so successful in raising the water table that now we have to safeguard against the danger of bog burst. To do that we are reprofiling the steep peat banks at the edges of the Moss and putting in some peat dams on the surface to limit run off through the old drainage channels. The work will take about a month to complete and there shouldn't be too much disruption to walking round the paths. This could become a Best Practice for the restoration of raised peat bogs.

Moss identification day: 22 May

We talk a lot about the Moss, but what mosses are actually there? Debbie Spray of SNH led a session on how to identify the various types. We're especially keen on sphagnums because they are a bog builder and a good indication of the health of a bog.

There are potentially 7 kinds of sphagnum which could be expected on our Moss and with Debbie's help we were able to find and locate all of them. There are also two types of cotton grass beginning to colonise big areas. All good news. Portmoak Moss continues to respond well to our restoration activities.

LLLP Roadshow: 22 Jun 2016

The Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership have been very supportive of us, providing funds for the development of our report on management options as well as enough money to make a start on actually doing some of the work. The LLLP is coming to a conclusion and they had a roadshow at which various participants in their projects explained what had been done. We attended and gave an update about the work on Portmoak Moss.

Basket weaving: 19 Jun 2016

Basket weaving is a good, old fashioned, country craft. And locally we've got a lot of good, old fashioned, basket cases so we had Jan Hendry come in to show us how it's done. Baskets, trugs and something that looked a bit a misshapened butterfly, but might have been a beer mat were all produced.

SNH Discovery day: 16 Jun 2016

We took part in the annul event at Kirkgate Park along with The Woodland Trust who shared a stand with us. They were promoting their latest woodland schemes while Lesley and Michael were looking at the history and furture of the raised bog at Scotlandwell.

And the Oscar goes to...

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) are producing a series of films on peatland restoration techniques. They needed to get some footage of contractors clearing and treating scrub on a lowland bog and thought that Portmoak Moss would be an ideal location so on 24 March a film crew were on site to get their shots. It meant that another troublesome area of birch regen got cleared.

Work session in the Moss: 24 April

Christmas is coming! So we went to our Christmas tree area in the Moss and did some work to prepare for December. Making space around good looking trees, dealing with splits and shaping them so they'll look good.

Annual General Meeting: 19 April 2016

At our AGM the office bearers were elected - well, re-elected actually since everyone seemed pleased with the way that things are going. Jeff Gunnell is the Chair, Louise Batchelor is the Secretary and Lesley Botten is the Treasurer.

We're in good shape financially with enough funds to be able to keep putting on public events free of charge but also able to respond rapidly to opportunities, like buying more land or paying for projects, should a suitable opportunity crop up.

We looked back on what we've done in the last year and we're pleased with the balance between management activities and public events.

Finally, we tuned up the constitution a little bit. You can see the new one here.

And if you want to see the minutes of the AGM, they are here.

Work session in the orchard: 20 March

Twelve people (but no dogs) did a bit of pruning and tree work in our community orchard. We'll have another apple day in the orchard in the autumn, same as last year, so we're hoping for an even better crop now that the trees are becoming established and our maintenance skills are improving.

Elephant seen in Portmoak Moss! January 2016

Jess Kay and her dog scared up this wild animal during their morning constitutional. Well, we've heard that climate change is driving species further north...


Burns Supper: 23 January, 2016

The unfortunate haggis was led to the table by Chloe Vlasto (Poozie) and Dr Carr shared a few first thoughts with it.

The remains were scraped together and Chloe carried them off again to the delicate refrain of Tom Brown's bagpipes. Kirsty Buchanan gave us the Selkirk Grace and this year The Imortal Memory was from John Purser, of BBC broadcasting fame. Lots of people thought it was such a polished piece that they wanted to read again. And you can, right here: Purser Immortal Memory. (Small print: the copyright, in whole and in part, is the property of John Purser).

Chris Allen delivered the Toast to Lassies in a North American accent and was firmly put in his place by the reply from Antonia Allen, not in a North American accent. But that's not all. Titch Frier got everyone singing, the Portmoak Players had more classical arrangements of songs, Elaine Carruthers dusted off Tam O'Shanter and Jessie Pryde did a song that Burns wished he'd written himself, The Pan Drap. Louise Batchelor reminded everyone that this whole thing is just a thinnly disguised Portmoak Community Steering Group managment meeting with PowerPoints and everything. The audience challenge this year was to improve on Burn's words for any of his songs. Here's the winner (it was that sort of night):

Gin a doggy meet a doggy, comin' thro' the Moss,
De-fecatin' ilka doggy, disnae gie a toss;
Ilka walker has a baggie - that they left at hame;
Sae ilka path gets awfi crappy - tis mingin' a' the same.

The official report from the Kinross Newsletter is here.

Christmas Tree Day: 13 December, 2015

About 60 families came for their Christmas trees (or possibly the free mulled wine). We'd made a bit of an effort earlier in the year to thin and prune the thicket so the trees were better than ever and everyone seemed pleased with what they got. And it also helps to prevent regen on an area of the Moss that we want to get back to being a raised bog.

Apple day, 13 September, 2015

Have you ever wondered what kind of apple tree you have in the garden? It may be an old variety producing unusual fruit or you may have a comparatively young tree but can no longer read the label?

We had an apple identification afternoon in the Portmoak Community Orchard on Sunday September 13th. Very good attendance: 70 people and 4 dogs. The Women's Rural laid on tea and apple-themed cakes. Apples were converted into juice. Most of the trees in orchard were identified and labelled. The event was sponsored by the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership.

Management Options for Portmoak Moss, February 2015

Our consultant, Robin Payne, has completed his report on ‘Management Options for Portmoak Moss’. We’re very pleased with it: it’s full of good ideas and has plenty for everyone. It’s a detailed and hence large document, 66 pages long, but the summary at the beginning outlines the main themes. We'll be working with The Woodland Trust Scotland on the new management plan and we hope to include these ideas into a long term vision.

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