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September 21, 2023

Through One Per Cent for the Planet, Chia Charge has been contributing to Trees for Life for a few years now, I thought it about time I took a look at part of the operation.

I have been eyeing some of the activities they offer and a weeks Rewilding Off Grid in Glen Affric seemed a cracking idea to me, maybe not for everyone of course.

These pictures probably tell a pretty good story (I’m not mentioning the midges)

The Bothy called Athnamulloch is in the heart of beautiful Glen Affric, with no running water, no wifi. It is compact for 12 people, there is a drying room with a wood fired stove, so at least you get dry dirty clothes to put on each morning 😉

My cot, not quite sleeping on the floor

We had 6 full days on site with a day off on Wednesday.

Three days were spent planting trees on Beinn a Mheadhoin, which is at 610 Metres, we walked about 300 Metres up there, with backpack, shovel and trees in hand.

The 1st 2 days up there we were planting willow, rowan and aspen across the front facing hillside, quite close to the top facing Loch a Mheadhoin, on the 3rd day we straight up to the top and were planting a variety of willows and some aspen.

Heading up the hill for a days planting


Great spot for a picnic. 

 Learning about planting.

Heading Downhill after a days tree planting

On Wednesday we had a day off, and the Bothy is not too far from 2 of the tallest Scottish Mountains north of the Great Glen, so it seemed only right and proper to have a wander up Mam Sodhail and Càrn Eige, it was a 13 mile and 4400ft of ascent round trip, we were very lucky on the way up and down and rewarded with some great views, not such good views at the top sadly, but I'm not complaining.

Mountains to the west from near the saddle below Mam Sodhail

Ascending Càrn Eige

The top of Càrn Eige, is less than 1km and a sharp descent from Mam Sodhail, I am told it can be a fine view, not on this day though.

The other 2 days were split between, clearing out some non native species on forestry land and building a fence enclosure near the bothy, both splendid days of exercise, work and laughter amongst the group.

Fencing in on the banks of the River Affric

Posts, fences, tools and trees being brought from the end of the track about half a mile away.

Hi ho, hi ho, home from work we go.

Clearing non-native species mostly Sitka Spruce was a very manual job, huge lopping cutters and a bow saw, mainly working in pairs, was a great day and between us we have given space to lots of native species to continue growing.

I did have my own Norman Wisdom moment whilst leaning on a tree trunk!

Overall this was a great experience that I feel privileged to have been on, made good friends, learnt oodles about trees and the rewilding work that is going on, and I have started to get an insight into lots of things I have not been aware of through the knowledge of the group.

If you are keen to do some rewilding, get some outdoor exercise and meet a bunch of like minded folk it is a great way to spend a week.

There are only 10 spaces on the week which runs roughly 8 times a year, if you are keen to find out more here’s the link to the Trees For Life site