In early July we joined forces with our Partners in Action, Chinnor Churches Go Wild and Adventure Plus to launch our new Partner in Action in Scotland—the Abernethy Centre at Barcaple in Dumfriesshire. Fifteen of us headed north to help the centre survey their land and discover what incredible plants, birds and animals exist in their fields and woodlands.
So what is Barcaple, I hear you ask? It’s an outdoor activity centre for young people, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds and some with special educational needs. It is run by Christian charity The Abernethy Trust, which look after four centres across Scotland. The Abernethy Barcaple team are keen to integrate a greater care for the land they manage, into their range of outdoor and indoor activities.
And that’s where A Rocha UK came in. We pulled together a team of volunteers for a Bioblitz survey to find what species and habitats reside at Barcaple . Our own chair of trustees, Steve Hughes, came to oversee bird-ringing, Colin Conroy led a group that catalogued plants and Rick and Barbara Mearns went in search of moths and dragonflies. But our survey wasn’t just about species. Jon Cox, CEO of Adventure Plus, led more volunteers to review the existing outdoor activities and how they could be integrated into caring for God’s creation. Abi Forsythe, our conservation intern, looked at energy use and food provision in the main house, while Chris Baillie considered how the habitats on site are connected to the surrounding area. It was a great week and a comprehensive report will be coming out for the Barcaple team to use over the summer.
We found some amazing wildlife, including a good range of moths – cinnabar, garden tiger, beautiful golden y, burnished brass, Chinese character and poplar hawkmoth to name but a few. We were also pleased to see some interesting birds, including several pairs of spotted flycatcher—a species rapidly declining in the UK, but with at least two pairs breeding on site. We also watched red kites, which have recently made a comeback in Southern Scotland through a successful reintroduction programme.
This was a trip to remember and we know that it is the start of an exciting relationship with the fantastic Barcaple team!
In case you were wondering, the place is pronounced BAR CAY PUL. So now you know!