January Brings the Snow......





“ January brings the snow, Makes our feet and fingers glow. "




January brings the snow...or if you live in Rannoch, November brings the snow, as does January, February, March and April, and if we're really unlucky, May! At least the shortest day has come and gone, and whilst we don't quite dare to hope that we'll see some signs of Spring, it seems not too far away.

Here's a question one enterprising child asked me the other day; "where do Brown Trout go in the Winter"?







Everyone is entitled to a break, it’s in the EU Working Time Directive!

Of course the simple answer is that they're still out there. Proof, if it was needed, was in the form of a large group of fish all rising to take flies off the surface of the Loch, just before Christmas, when the snow disappeared and temperatures leapt to a positively Mediterranean 9 degrees, (oh fickle Rannoch weather, with your two foot of snow, you reserved for January).

Female Brown Trout, (known as a Hen), will have gravitated towards a spawning stream, and like their near cousin the Salmon, will have gone back to the one they grew up in. Attended by a Male Brown Trout, (Known as a Cock), the female will then carve out a trench called a Redd by scooping out the gravel and sand with her tail. The Cock then does his thing and they go their separate ways.  Heavy rainfalls at this time of the year can be devastating for Brown Trout spawning beds, and if the rain is heavy enough and prolonged it can scour the stream beds clean destroying the eggs - such an occurrence was witnessed locally on the Dall Burn in January 2016. It will take years before that habitat can return to a suitable spawning ground.


Did you know.....Brown Trout can live for up to 20 years!

Outdoor Access and Wild, (Informal), Camping

Just as I was about to press "Publish", on the old machine, I was reminded that this year, 2018, is the 15th anniversary of the legislation that embodies our right to roam anywhere we choose in Scotland, the Land Reform, (Scotland), Act, 2003 - which drives the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, (SOAC).

BBC Radio Scotland's excellent "Out of Doors" aired a 90 minute programme, the focus of which centred around the restrictions that have been enforced within the Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, (LLTNPA), to curtail so called "Wild Camping", an initiative we have taken a keen interest in here within Rannoch.

You can listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer here; BBC Scotland, Out of Doors, it aired on the 13th of January 2018, and is only available until the 12th of February 2018

One of the contributers to the programme was Nick Kemp. Nick is an outdoor journalist and blogger and has a website called "Parkswatch Scotland", where he campaigns constantly to hold both Cairngorm and Lomond National Park authority to account, (as he see's it); Parks Watch Scotland

Cameron McNeish often wades in on Nick's side, and the frequent tweets and blogs are always interesting to read.

LLTNPA attempted to introduce legislation that would contain campers in prepared sites that would also include toilet facilities, something we at LRCA would not necessarily disagree with.

However it was clear by August, the legislation was not fit for purpose - it did not for instance, prevent sleeping in motor vehicles, such as Campervans, Motorhomes or Caravans - one of the biggest issues in the Park, but did cause Park Rangers to issue over 800 warnings to people in tents. On top of this, some of the promised campsites and facility's had failed to materialise, leaving the LLTNPA open to considerable criticism.

Imagine for instance that you've had a long days walk along the West Highland Way, which passes through the National Park. At the end of the day you stop and set up your small tent and get the cooker on for a brew, only to be greeted by a Park Ranger, who will then inform you that you must move to a designated camping area, some considerable distance away, and that failing to do so will result in your name being taken with a view to passing this along to the Fiscal. Not very welcoming, and the policy fails to target the very problem that resulted in an attempt to create the legislation in the first place - you can see where the conflict is going to come from.






As discussed at our AGM in June, whilst we want to find a way that will keep our Lochside clean and tidy, we want to do so in a way that is inclusive, and brings our visitors, who we welcome, (they bring much needed income into the area), along with us. We have a long way to go to achieve this, but it is true to say that we do not face the same issues and pressures that are felt elsewhere in Scotland.

On a Lighter Note - Watch Out For....

The common Robin Red-Breast. This garden bird, is a welcome, if slightly cheeky sight during these really cold and dark winter months. They are fiercely territorial, and if you have one in your garden, then they tend to stay around for awhile. Because of this, if you start putting food out for them, they will return again and again, but woe betide you if you forget to put more out on time! It needs an expert eye to tell the difference between a male and a female, however juveniles have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown.





RSPB Birdwatch - January 2018

January is your chance to get involved in one of the largest Bird surveys that takes place every year. Over the period 27th to the 29th of January 2018, register for, and take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

Image result for big garden birdwatch

Request your pack by the 29th of January 2018 by visiting:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch

A Seasonal Message from the Chair

To all Board Members, and Officers of the Loch Rannoch Conservation Association

"I just wanted to say a brief thank you to all our Board Members and Officers for their contributions and participation over 2017 and how much I'm looking forward to working with you over the next year. 

I believe that we are consistently improving and furthering our presence in Rannoch for the benefit of this beautiful and unique place. Most of this is thanks to your efforts and makes me proud to be Chair and to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."

Bob Benson
Chair, LRCA

Become a Friend of Rannoch

If you are interested in keeping in touch with our wonderful area, supporting the work that we do, or just want to show your support, you can do so by signing up to our "Friends of Rannoch" scheme. It only takes a moment, and won't cost you a penny. You can find out more here:

Friends of Rannoch

Friends of Rannoch

RANNOCH WEATHER WATCH, DECEMBER 2017

For those of you who take an interest in Rannoch weather, the stats for December 2017 are shown below. If anyone is interested in the raw data, which has significantly more information in it than shown below, then email us here at the LRCA and we will send it to you.




Contacting the Loch Rannoch Conservation Association


You can email the Loch Conservation Officer here, lrca.permits@gmail.com  regarding any fishing, camping, or boating matter.

You can ring or text to, 07770 293559









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