What a day we had in Glenariff last Friday on the second of our stepping up for corncrake nettle gathering work parties! As I drove with a carful of volunteers through the glens towards Glenariff that morning I am sure I was not the only thinking...”what am I doing?!?!”. The weather was not promising with showers of sleet and even snow on higher ground, and it hadn’t improved much when we reached the farm where we would be digging the nettles. However, in the spirit of all things volunteering and as the forecast predicted things to improve throughout the day we blattered on!
The task for the day was once again to dig up nettle roots known as rhizomes which would later be taken later to Rathlin Island and planted as part of corncrake habitat regeneration work the RSPB is doing there. There is a shortage of nettles on the island and so we have had to ship them in!
We had a team of six keen volunteers prepared to brave the cold and roll up their sleeves to help RSPB staff up root and bag nettle rhizomes from a midden on the farm. And boy did we gather nettles! Incredibly the group managed to gather more than was gathered on the first work party – I think we got lucky in what would be a spectacular patch of nettles in the height of summer. These nettles will soon be planted on Rathlin where they will regenerate into another spectacular patch of nettles which hopefully will prove irresistible to passing corncrakes who will use it to hide in and call for a mate in the spring.
Before we knew it, it was time to stop for a well deserved lunch and then not long after that until we were packing the nettles onto the trailer bound for Rathlin. There is definitely a high level of satisfaction in seeing the final result of your hard work all bundled up and ready to go, not to mentioned the obvious benefits of getting outdoors surrounded by wonderful scenery to do a spot of work with likeminded people.
Would you like to come along to a future work party and help us gather some more nettles (we need lots) or clear brambles where they will be planted on Rathlin Island? Here are dates of upcoming work parties we are still looking for more volunteers to help with
If you would like to get involved or would like more information please get in touch with me on 028 90 491547 or email@example.com to book a space.
Please note booking is essential and that all work parties could be cancelled at short notice due to adverse weather conditions. Travel expenses of up to 25 miles (50 miles there and back) may be claimed and cost of ferry to Rathlin will be covered.