The spring clean up has been moving at a fair pace up and down the river and with water levels low we’ve been able to get out a lot of waste that hadn’t been accessible before on the river bed and banks. You’ll find lots of pictures of big waste piles on Facebook and Twitter. The biggest to date was at St Marks Park where we did a sweep around the Craigroyston football pitch where lots of people have been drinking on and leaving their waste at the fenceline. Following an excursion to Falkland Palace to collect lots of free willow we have done two spiling projects at Bell’s Meadow and on the Rocheid Path to repair the banking. Both sections have suffered erosion mostly from dogs running down into the river and if left unchecked would have undermined the walkway in time. There are lots of sections between Belford and Roseburn that we hope to tackle over the coming months as time allows.
The great painting of the Water of Leith walkway railings has started up at Balerno and we’ll slowly work our way down the river changing rusting green to a beautiful black.
Charlotte started her spraying of Giant Hogweed this month tackling a source that had been identified last year of a farmers field on the Murrayburn (a river that runs into the Water of Leith). With help from volunteers Ian and Andrew, who have been trained in the use of herbicides and support from Forth Rivers Trust, the team spent two days spraying the section closest to the river, allowing the farmer to then use his mechanical sprayer on the rest which reduced the amount of runoff of chemicals into the river whilst killing off all the plants. Charlotte also waded up the Murrayburn from Longstone dealing with plants that had come from this source. She has now also begun working down from Currie on her annual run checking for plants on the Water of Leith and surveying research plots where we have been experimenting with different levels of herbicides to reduce the amount of chemicals used by the river. We’ve also had the Broughton Ladies Rugby section out twice in April and they built new flower planters for the visitor centre to brighten up our yard.
Following the announcements from the Scottish Government on the relaxation of covid restrictions, we’ll be increasing our group sizes up to a max of 15 on projects, dependent on the task and the ability for people to social distance on the walkway. The main gathering point is always at the start of tasks so please continue to wear masks and give each other space at that point so we can keep Charlotte and Johnny healthy.