Eadha is excited to announce the launch of its Yearn Stane Project with the completion of its first tree planting event held at the Barytes Mine at Muirshiel Country Park on Saturday 7th January. We would like to thank the volunteers who came along to help us plant 100 native trees and shrubs including aspen, juniper, birch, oak and gorse, all propagated by Eadha in its wee tree nursery. We also employed the novel “Greenlees Method” of seed dispersal by throwing ice-cubes containing birch and juniper seed into inaccessible areas of the mine. Special thanks also goes to Liz Parsons for on-site catering and Graham McIver who brought his drone and has created a fantastic promotional film (see link below) We are also grateful for the help of Alan Brown from the Regional Park and the permission of Mr Lamont, tenant farmer.
On our way to the mine, we were treated to the rare sight of a beautiful Fog Bow over the hills, perhaps a good omen for the project.
Many local people with an interest in natural history may be unaware of the Yearn Stane, a feature to be found near Irish Law which derives its name from the old word for Golden Eagle “earn”. This was a perch for golden eagles and hints at our ambition to improve the ecology of the Renfrewshire Hills.
As with large tracts of upland Scotland, the ecology of our local hills has been impacted from intensive land uses since historical times. The Duchal Moor for example was one of the most productive grouse moors in the country. Black grouse have become extinct in the park in recent times along with Mountain Hare, Adder, Red Squirrel, Water Vole, and Bog Myrtle, to name a few. Hen Harrier have not bred successfully for a number of years now. In terms of trees there were less than 10 juniper and aspen left. The regional park have been successful in bringing the juniper back from the brink and Eadha have focused on the aspen.
We now think its time to step up a gear. We are concerned that the Regional Park has lost its IUCN designation which provided some protection against inappropriate/industrial developments such as windfarms. This is partly due to the low priority of ecological issues.
The management of the land has a bearing on the wider communities. The flash flooding in Lochwinnoch and the silting of Castle Semple Loch, threatening the sustainability of watersports can be linked to the intensive drainage ditches across the moorland. These fragile peatland areas are therefore losing carbon rather than locking it up.
Eadha is seeking to work with the Regional Park and local landowners to expand native woodland, work with farmers to establish wood pasture in grazed areas, create areas of scrub and implement peatland restoration.
The potential social and economic as well as environmental benefits could be enormous in terms of eco-tourism, environmental education, volunteering and employment training etc.
We are looking for local people to come forward to help make our ambitions a reality.