It was a mixed bag for the Wild Ways Well groups last week, the Tuesday group was forced indoors by the heavy rain and freezing conditions, while the Thursday group spent part of its session basking in the sunshine in a woodland clearing!

Mother Nature likes keeping us guessing. Looking at my diary, last year at this time we were rushing back and forward to the wildflowers we planted at Ravenswood, trying to keep them watered in a heatwave – this year I’m looking for arctic supplies and an igloo building kit.

I’ve been getting a bit poetic in my blogs lately (we should definitely have a Wild Ways Well poetry session!) but weather like this always makes me think of Sir Alexander Gray’s poem ‘Scotland’, especially these bits


This is my country,

The land that begat me.

These windy spaces

Are surely my own.

And those who here toil

In the sweat of their faces

Are flesh of my flesh,

And bone of my bone.

Yet do thy children

Honour and love thee.

Harsh is thy schooling,

Yet great is the gain:

True hearts and strong limbs,

The beauty of faces,

Kissed by the wind

And caressed by the rain.


Unfortunately on Tuesday the wind and rain were more (metaphorically) physically assaulting us with freezing baseball bats than caressing!  I didn’t want to cancel yet another session to the weather so we decided to meet up anyway and go for a coffee and a chat in the Town centre.

Whilst it was’t quite outdoors it was still nice, we sat in the warm and talked about what we’d been doing and the sort of sessions we’d like to do in the future.  We also took the chance to fill in some of the paperwork that we hadn’t quite gotten round to (I hate doing paperwork) so it was a useful session.  After our coffee we walked up to the entrance and seeing a gap in the weather we decided we would risk a short walk.  It’s amazing even when just walking round the centre just how many trees and birds you can find in Cumbernauld.  We looked at the area where some of Tracy’s volunteers had been litterpicking and building hurdles and identified lots of different tree species by their leaves and twigs.

The Thursday group couldn’t have been more different and we met in blue skies and warm sunshine.  We took advantage of this by finding a clearing and sitting round a log pile to have a chat about what had been going on in our lives lately.  I have to confess at this point that I forgot to bring the Kelly Kettle so we didn’t have a cuppa – but it was too warm for a hot drink anyway!

We’re thinking about making a wildlife map of the woodlands so we looked at how the ordnance survey do it and learned about grid references, then went for a walk through the woods listening to the birds calling in the trees and marking what we could hear.

While doing this one of the group members made the most exciting discovery of the day when she stumbled over a Badger Sett!  We found lots of signs of the badgers living their lives and we’ll definitely come back to this spot again and properly survey the sett.


We did a quick litter pick, clearing up someone’s abandoned BBQ (when did they get the weather to have a BBQ!?) and then walked back.  Hopefully the sunshine is a sign of things to come…

If you’d like to get involved with Wild Ways Well then find out more information here or drop me an email pbarclay@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

Paul Barclay

Wild Ways Well is a partnership project between The Conservation Volunteers and The Scottish Wildlife Trust, delivered by Cumbernauld Living Landscape and funded by the Green Infrastructure Community Engagement Fund and Transport Scotland. 

Paul Barclay