Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Felling with the Tifor winches

Felling a Leaning Spruce.

Spruce can be notorious for suffing from root plate lift in strong winds, this one was no exception. This Spruce was located in a small stand of trees, on a slope near the gable end of a house. There are power lines running between the house and the trees. The tree was leaning in the direction of the house and lines. As it happens this tree is being supported by the surrounding trees and they are stopping it from going over. How do you tackle something like this? This is the approach we chose to take!

Firstly closely inspect the tree to make sure that it can be dealt with safely in the way that we want to deal with it. 

Climb the tree removing the limbs from the direction it is going to be felled; remove the limbs from the ground up to a point where they are in contact with the surrounding trees, these will be under tension! Having these limbs removed allowed us a space to attach winch wires to the stem so that they have a clear line towards our anchored winches. Two winch wires are attached to the stem, one about two thirds the way up this 60-70ft tree, the second about 6ft below the first. Why two winch wires? The first and highest is the one that will be used to pull the tree over it being high up the stem gives maximum leverage. The direction of fell is across the slope. The problem is trying to control a tree like this with a compromised root plate. There is a chance that as the tree is being pulled to the vertical that it might start to veer downslope; fall along the fence line damaging the fence landing in a position that would be difficult to deal with. A second winch was therefore to be used, it being placed up-slope 45 degrees from the line of fell. The theory being as the tree is pulled to the vertical on the first winch the second winch is kept tensioned so the tree can not head downslope. Once the tree is beyond vertical and heading in the line of pull towards the first winch, also guided by the direction of the felling cut, the second winch wire looses tension but would still restrict the tree falling downslope.  The result was a tree safely on the ground. All that remains would be to tidy up.


Leaning tree with cleaned stem, 2nd wire visible.                Second Tirfor winch.

Posted by James on 13/08 at 08:10 PM
Tree SurgeryPermalink

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Climbing kit needed for hedge cutting

20ft Cypress Hedge

Now that the planting season has come to a successful conclusion we are back into the routine of grounds management, tree work and fencing.

Posted by James on 12/06 at 11:49 AM
Tree SurgeryPermalink

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

226800 native trees

Last tree planted

Three years, three Compartments, today the 29th May 2013 we planted the last tree in Lochan Burn. This was the last of 226800 trees planted over the past three years at Corehead. It's been a challenging winter, there have been some interesting moments and some testing weather conditions but always lots of laughs along the way.

Huge thanks to all the team for their endeavours and commitment. We can be proud of what we have achieved together and of the lasting mark that we have left on the hills above Moffat.

The last tree planted was an Oak, the only one to be found in upper Pot Burn.  Although we have planted this above the normal altitude for Oak, we felt that this was appropriate as we are trying to push the boundaries of successful native planting. For future reference the coordinates of the last tree are NT 10446 13127.

Posted by James on 29/05 at 07:43 PM
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shelterbelt Planting

Native planting to provide a shelterbelt for livestock and a habitat for wildlife.

We have recently completed a Shelterbelt planting with mixed native broadleaves including Oak, Rowan and Crab Apple as well as Blackthorn, Holly and a Scots Pine nurse.

Posted by James on 19/05 at 10:00 PM

Spring time at the Bothy

Still standing after a Lochan Burn winter.

Darcy Cottage makes it through it's first winter. Its still weatherproof  after withstanding 80mph+ winds, several feet of snow and temperatures easily below -10c. Its hard to imagine trying to undertake the planting in Lochan Burn without our Bothy!

Posted by James on 19/05 at 09:45 PM

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cairn Building on a Donald

Work has been started on the cairn to mark the summit of Whitehope heights, listed as one of 140 Donalds. 

Donalds are mountains in the Scottish Lowlands over 2,000 ft (609.6 m).



There are 140 Donalds, comprising of 89 mountains and 51 tops. To see the full list click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Donalds

Posted by James on 15/05 at 10:42 AM

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lochan Burn Wildlife

Spotted in the past few days....

Peacock butterfly on a stake near the Bothy at Strong Cleuch.

Badger just outside the fenceline on Barry Grain Rig.

Common Lizard...

Posted by James on 22/04 at 09:05 PM

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Today’s Planting Forecast

17th April- Wet with rainy spells, moderate gales to very windy

The planting conditions today were a bit wet and after being all too aware of the possibilities of an avalanche last week now we have to be aware of land slides.

Posted by James on 17/04 at 05:28 PM

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Avalanche now to be added to our Planting Risk Assessment.

This picture was taken a minute after the team experienced its first avalanche whilst planting. After weeks of not being able to access Lochan Burn, we finally managed to get things underway again. The severe weather at this altitude left a noticable build up of snow on the crag face above us on Hartfell Shoulder, so what happened on the 12th April, 3rd day back, was always a remote possibility. Whilst the slipping snow did not descend far enough to reach the planting line, it loosened rocks that bounced their way down the slope and they did reach the edge stakes!


Posted by James on 14/04 at 09:46 PM
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Commercial Planting

A change of planting method is needed for commercial plantations.

On commercial sites where plants, mostly conifers, are not afforded individual protection bare rooted plants are the usual option.

Compared to native planting, spears are swapped for Schlichs and Canadian style harnesses for planting bags.

Trees are planted in rows  at 2 or 3 metre spacing instead of natural planting patterns.


Posted by James on 14/03 at 06:00 PM

Monday, February 11, 2013

Life above the snow line

Its another world

In Moffat today the weather was good, sunshine, no snow lining the streets and even slightly mild. What lies ahead though to get to Lochan Burn is becoming unusually normal....

An hour spent clearing drifts as we cross the snow line on Cock law...

A last look back to Moffat and the green landscape surrounding it.

 Looking forward and down into Lochanburn, the bothy some 430ft below.

We got there in the end to find that the flake gate to the compartment gateway was blocked by 3ft snow drifts, the surrounding valley floor covered in about a foot of snow that has been blown of Hartfell. (The Quad had to recovered from a drift on top of the marsh that has to be crossed to get to the gate, the Argo stuck on the hillside above).

We got to work today but had to turn back, somebody forgot to bring the Coffee!

Posted by James on 11/02 at 11:04 PM
Native PlantingPermalink

Just another day at the office

It could be worse!

Posted by James on 11/02 at 10:57 PM
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Volunteer revisits planting

Juniper planted in November 2010

Ed, from Somerset, revisits the Juniper he planted on the first Volunteer planting day at Tweedhope , Corehead in November 2010.

Posted by James on 06/02 at 04:40 PM
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Flying over Lochan Burn

A unique view of where we are working, photography by Liz Hanson

Aerial imagery gives a good logistical overview of a project of this scale.

Images like this give the idea of a blank canvas when it comes to designing woodland; there are no existing trees and no boundaries other than altitude, water courses and rock formations.

We use physical features on the ground to form the structure of the woodland we are planting. The species of tree that we plant is determined by factors such as soil type, altitude, drainage etc. These factors are normally reflected in the existing vegetation cover and generally we use this as a guide as to what species to plant at any given spot or more generally the woodland type that will cover an area.

In some cases there are a wide variety of ground types and therefore resulting woodland types in any given area. It is conceivable to take a photograph of that area and draw/annotate on the boundaries between ground types simply by the identifying the vegetation present. From this an image of where the differing woodland types are to be planted can be produced, in some ways this would be like painting by numbers.

Posted by James on 21/01 at 02:43 PM
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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Alder with altitude

Planting the highest Alder in the country.

Alder at the Lochan Burn, Corehead, Moffat Hills, Scotland

"High Altitude New Native Woodland in the Southern Uplands. The highest naturally occurring Alder Alnus glutinosa in the country is found in the Highlands at c.547m a.s.l. The planting of alder at Lochan Burn will match this and offer the exciting prospect of some of the highest altitude alder woodland in the country. The planting is somewhat experimental as nobody is certain about the limits of this type of forest under natural conditions. Taken together with some of the highest altitude sessile oak Quercus petraea and Ash Fraxinus excelsior and the establishment of montane scrub at even higher altitudes, Treesurv are providing the vital practical backbone to this new and exciting attempt at native forest restoration in the Southern Uplands."

Stuart Adair, Habitat Ecologist and Environmental Consultant, Jan 2013.


Posted by James on 09/01 at 09:47 PM
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