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Boat of Garten Scrub Bash - Saturday 15th September 2018

By Hilary Swift

Due to forestry operations at Polmaily, our annual scrub-bashing event – the highlight in Highland Branch’s calendar - had to be cancelled.  But to avoid disappointment of not having a bake-off, we found another location which required some habitat restoration to benefit butterflies.   This time we were on a part of the Speyside Way at Boat of Garten where Small Blue has been seen. 

Gartenmore Junction

Before work started.


Having sought the relevant permissions from landowners, we got to work clearing away broom and other scrub which was encroaching on the footpath and shading out Kidney Vetch, the foodplant for Small Blue.  We had 14 strapping volunteers turn out for the day – all were over 55, apart from our newest recruits: two Polish boys, neighbours of our chairman in Grantown and extremely keen to get stuck in to practical work.  The numbers were bumped up near the end by 4 young ladies, who had heard the rumour of there being lots of cake.  If they had come earlier in the day, there would have been a bigger selection – you snooze, you lose! 

Work begins

Work begins


We had lots of baby Kidney Vetch plants to put in the ground and plenty of seed to scatter.  A bit of trial and error in how well they take.  We won’t know until next year, but hopefully enough will survive the Strathspey winter to help our smallest butterfly.

Uprooting Broom

Uprooting Broom using the amazing Tree-popper


Anyway, never mind that.  As always, there were strong contenders in the home-baking department.  It started off with Dot’s Station Fruit Cake, made with cold tea, which gave it a lovely richness and moistness.  Then came Tom’s piece de resistance, his iced Guinness and Chocolate Cake – for those of you who have never sampled this, it’s strongly recommended you come along next time.  Hilary had the help of 11 year-old Damian in making both Peanut Butter Cookies and Banana Bread (as it’s Hilary who’s writing this, I can’t possibly comment).  Denise made Apple Slices which, by a small margin, were probably the healthiest option.  Last, but certainly not least, was Fiona’s Carrot Cake which had the lovely added nuance of orange and the crunch of nuts.


So the winner?  All of them, of course!  You can’t possibly pick out one – they are all deserving of compliments.  But as Peter said, the favourite is the one you’re eating at the time!


A big thank you to everyone who came along to help: Fiona, Rob, Matthew, Dot & Ron, Mike, Pete G, Peter & Denise, Tom, Pete & Hilary, Damian, Sebastian, Maree, Drew, Eve and Erin-Louise.

After scrub clearing

After the scrub has been cleared

Planting Kidney Vetch

Planting Kidney Vetch


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