Half way through July…

It is hard to believe that we are already half way through July and still I have not really felt the summer rays of sun

I thought I would give you an update of our geo-caching traveling teddies which I mentioned in last months item.

First let me introduce them, there is Ginger teddy set on his way by Ulva Ferry Primary School,(whom wished to travel Europe) then there is Bob from Salen Primary (whom wished to travel the world)and finally but certainly not least Little Big Foot from Lochdon Primary School.

Here are their mug shots as they were when they left Mull.

little big foot

Little Big Foot from Lochdon

Ginger from Ulva Ferry

Ginger from Ulva Ferry

Bob from Salen

 
And so for an update:

Ginger has travelled 565.6 miles so far first leaving Mull and ending up on the M1 at the Woodall Service Station and from there hoping to get a flight from the Leeds and Bradford Airport, he missed a plane and was picked up by the geocachers ‘Heap Patrol’ and has since be traveling around Yorkshire including going to the Kendal Gold Cup and Kendal Summit.

Ginger travels mid July

Ginger catching the ferry

Ginger stows away on the Isle of Mull ferry.

Ginger makes it to England

Ginger at passport control

Ginger travels mid July
Bob has made it to Mt Hermann in Germany and has traveled 637 miles and was in the care of the ‘Dimo Team’ who have left him there for someone else to pick up.

Bob makes it to Germany

And finally there is Little Big Foot who wishes to travel around Scotland and has made it to Colmonell, Ayrshire thanks to Dimo team as well. He has traveled 106.1 miles

Little Big Foot makes it to Colmonell

On his way he has made lots of bear friends.

Little Big Foots friends

We will keep you posted on their travels, alternatively you can follow them yourself at http://www.geocaching-mull.co.uk/travellers/

Summer holidays and what shall we do?

 

Get out and geo-cache on Mull.

Over the last two years we have had a project involving setting geocaches, producing a leaflet and running a web site, thanks to funding from the Forestry Commission.
There is no better way to encourage youngster to go for a walk, learn a little about their surroundings and go on a world wide treasure hunt. On Mull and Iona there is over a 100 of these caches, the Ranger Services managing 55 of them.

geocaches on Mull
Part of the project was getting the local primary schools to set their own geocaches and also be custodians of them.

So I hear you ask, what does this involve?

The children were all give a plastic lunch box and a camouflage bag and a travel bug, a special tag with a unique number which can be logged on the Geocaching.com web page and then be tracked around the world or what ever the children decided they want it to do.

The children then hid the box near the school, wrote a short description about the site and filled in the rest of the necessary information such as co-ordinates on the Geocaching.com web site.    A geocache hunter would then visits the geocaches having first down loaded the co-ordinates from the Geocaching web site to their phone or GPS. They then go off and hunt out the Cache box, geocaching.com

                  box etclog they have visited it in a wee book, take and swap a trinket with something or equal or more in value or take the tagged bear if they can help it on its travels and when they get home they record their find and actions on the internet.
So for the bit that involves the travel bug the pupils have attached a key ring type object so that the tag does not get lost, The pupils have also given the bears a challenge so meet:

Little Big Foot of Lochdon who is traveling Scotland

little big foot

Ginger Bear of Ulva Ferry who is traveling around Europe

Ginger from Ulva Ferry

and Bob of Salen who is traveling the world

bob
To see where they have got to follow this link. http://www.geocaching-mull.co.uk/travellers/

The children have also asked the people who have transported the bears to the various locations to attach a photo to the Geocaching.com web site from the bear in situ in its new location.

Hopefully the pupils will follow the travels over the summer holidays and also go out and search for some of the geocaches themselves. After the summer I will also visit the other four primary schools and get them to set their bears a traveling.
It is good that the children will also be able to follow the bears from the other primary schools too. Once the bear has gone off on its travels the children can also keep an eye using the website to see who visits their boxes.

So if you are looking for something to do head out and check some of the geocaches, go for a nice walk and learn a bit more about Mull.

For more things to do this summer have a look at the events page for more Ranger Service Summer fun.

Bugs, birds, & red nose day

Geo-caching

On Tuesday last week I went down to the Forestry Commission Scotland walk at Scallastle (just outside of Craignure) to check the footpath and signs and to place two new geocaches. I’d never been to this site before and the walk was lovely. Despite being quite steep and rough in places its well worth it for fantastic views over the Sound of Mull. The surrounding mountains are stunning too and this is a good place to see golden eagles. The woodland is mixed, with a lot of native species including birch and hazel, I caught sight of long-tailed tits working among the huge variety of lichens. I laid out two new geocaches along the trail, this is an ever growing interest and hobby around the world and a great way to encourage people to walk outdoors. Scallastle is also home to a fairly new addition to Mull, the pine marten. This carnivorous mammal is a controversial species on the island, but is hopefully here to stay and will add to our wonderful wildlife. I managed to find some pine marten poo (scat) on the trail – they often leave signs in obvious places.

Pine marten scat found in Scallastle woodland

Pine marten scat found in Scallastle woodland

Mountain Wildlife

On Wednesday last week I got to meet some of Bunessan Primary School, I didn’t manage to visit them last season unfortunately. I joined Emily, our ranger for the Ross of Mull, Burg, Iona and Staffa to run a session on our mountains. We thought about how we can prepare ourselves for a mountain hike, and what to pack in our rucksack. We learnt that this can make all the difference when things like weather, accidents and midges can cause dangerous problems. This led us onto the adaptations wildlife needs to survive and why each animal or plant lives in a particular zone on the mountain.

This is where the eagles came in; both our golden eagle and white-tailed eagle have some fascinating adaptations which could mean the difference between life and death in the harsh Scottish mountains. The kids enjoyed seeing our stuffed golden eagle up close to look at the talons, feathered legs, powerful beak and large eyes. We then focused on how all the mountain wildlife links together and what would happen if one animal or plant were to disappear. Overall we had a great day!

Bug hotel renovations & brand new bird box builds…

I also visited Lochdon Primary who are working hard to develop their very own conservation area. We wanted to create some bird boxes to encourage garden birds like blue tits, great tits, robins and pied wagtails to set up home. We all got stuck in with the hammers and built four bird boxes, two with open fronts and two with smaller holes. These will be installed outside and help increase the wildlife onsite.
We also got our hands muddy outside despite the weather. We started some renovation work on their bug hotel, which was looking a bit forlorn and unloved. Old pallets are great for bug homes, so we added a few extra pallets to the pile. We then found lots of materials to fill in all the gaps, creating homes for bees, beetles, slugs, woodlice, spiders and more. A great way to collect up unwanted garden items lying around too, if you don’t want it, the bugs will! The children will keep adding to bug hotel and I’m sure they’ll investigate the insects living there when the weather improves.

Red nose day fun

Finally on Friday last week I ended for the weekend on a great note. Tobermory primary school children (P5/6/7) were doing a sponsored walk along the coastal route to Aros Park so I met them there to run an activity. Thankfully the weather was great, so the kids seemed to have a lovely time. I hid loads of items out in the trees for the children to find in pairs, but the catch was one of them must be blindfolded! This was harder than you’d think, but they did well, I only had to help with the last few. Once we had everything, the kids realised we could make a person. We created a fisherman, complete with his own red nose. I left them to enjoy another game, but managed to leave my sunglasses hidden in a tree, they’re still there someone now.

Thanks for reading! Rachel 🙂

Looking over to Loch Tor under stunning blue skies

Looking over to Loch Tor under stunning blue skies (mobile phone photo)