Blog

Final explorer walk – River Almond

Final explorer walk – River Almond

The sun shone down on us for the last in our series of Explorer Walks. Artists Morvern Odling and Annie Lord led the group through a series of creative exercises. The autumnal hues in the landscape provided a rich source of inspiration and reminded us that the whole...

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Volunteer Electrofishing

Volunteer Electrofishing

Volunteer My Electrofishing Experience by Elspeth Smith  I was able to get into the electrofishing course through the Trust which was certified by the Scottish Fisheries Co-ordination Centre (SFCC).  This was a two-day course which the first day was on theory where I...

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Explorer walk two – Howden Rock Ramp

Explorer walk two – Howden Rock Ramp

On a drizzly October day a group gathered for the second Explorer Walk on the River Almond.Artists Morvern Odling and Annie Lord led the session with Jack from Forth Rivers Trustproviding his knowledge and enthusiasm about the recently completed Howden Rock Ramp.The...

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Unblocktober and RiverRubbish: Raising Awareness

Unblocktober and RiverRubbish: Raising Awareness

Raising awareness of environmental issues is always a difficult balance between action on the ground and effective use of media channels. Lots can be done on the ground, but if too little reflective material and information is disseminated then the impacts of the work...

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There’s always some sewage

There’s always some sewage

I knew from my training that pollution from sewage works happens, mainly as a result of our combined sewer systems in Scotland, where all water, whether from a toilet, a road drain or the garage roof, heads to the wastewater treatment works. When you think about the...

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First Explorer walk along the Almond

First Explorer walk along the Almond

The Kirkton fish pass is a dramatic site. A glassy, sheet of amber water which tumbles into a frothing, bubbling mass of water. Cut into the weir is the larinier fish pass, a piece of engineering which will allow trout and salmon to migrate and travel upstream, plus...

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Exploring the Upper Almond

Exploring the Upper Almond

The last half a year has seen the RiverLife team start to move upstream of the river Almond, this was really due to finding a willing and eager audience for events in Whitburn and with the particularly enthusiastic Fraser, who runs Pottishaw Fishery, spurring us on....

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Summer on the Almond

Summer on the Almond

Most of my summers are spent organising things from Forth Rivers Trust HQ on the outskirts of Edinburgh, so I take advantage of opportunities that allow me to get outside and down to the river. We held a guided walk at the beginning of August, which due to a path...

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Fundays in Polbeth & Polkemmet

Fundays in Polbeth & Polkemmet

The RiverLife team held a number of our Family Fun days along the rivers over the school holidays. Two highlights were the day spent at Polbeth, with over 100 people meeting some of the local fish and bugs, then heading off to Limefield falls to complete the sticker...

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Craigsfarm volunteering

Craigsfarm volunteering

This month, at our regular volunteer meet up with volunteers from Craigsfarm, we ran an impromptu Freshwater Watch workshop for two volunteers.  Freshwater Watch is a global initiative that allows citizen scientists to monitor the water quality of their local burn,...

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RiverLife Guided Cycles

RiverLife Guided Cycles

RiverLife's Guided Cycles are gaining momentum.  Saturday, 28th September was our 3rd guided ride event and our second event in collaboration with West Lothian Bike Library.  Our numbers increased to 11 participants, though this may have been mainly due to the fact...

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Forage Walk Polkemmet

Forage Walk Polkemmet

Sunday 1st September had long been earmarked in my calendar as a day to look forward to. It was another opportunity to savour the foraging and culinary skills of Szymon from Foragerium. With the change in season from late summer to early autumn, the expectation was...

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Thanks Heineken

Thanks Heineken

We have been working on the upper Avon for the duration of RiverLife with the aim of improving biodiversity and riverbank management.  Earlier this week, we were joined by 11 volunteers from Heineken’s Edinburgh office who came to plant trees, adding to the work of...

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Bogburn volunteering session 6

Bogburn volunteering session 6

Heading upstream - from our meeting point in Morrisons carpark - across the adjacent wildflower meadow, our regular volunteer group have often found themselves sliding and stumbling down a steep slope before accessing the tarmac path below.  This month, two regular...

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All Of Our Training.

All Of Our Training.

RiverLife has been busy lately. Training our volunteers is an important part of our Project and, at Forth Rivers Trust, we have wholeheartedly jumped in these last few months to train our committed volunteers in skills such as Electrofishing, Pesticides application...

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9th West Lothian Scout Anglers

9th West Lothian Scout Anglers

To gain their Angler Activity Badge, Scouts need to become familiar with different fishing techniques, necessary safety precautions and rivercraft. Over the past two years, the 9th West Lothian Scouts have been working towards their badge with the help of RiverLife...

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2nd West Lothian Scouts Introduction to Angling

2nd West Lothian Scouts Introduction to Angling

Thanks again to Linlithgow Angling Club (LAC) who organised a two-part event this year for the 2nd West Lothian Scouts, funded through RiverLife’s Intro to Angling Programme. The first part of this, a casting lesson with instructors from Scottish Angler’s National...

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Polkemmet Tree Workshop

Polkemmet Tree Workshop

​The RiverLife team had a fantastic tree inspection workshop with Friends of Polkemmet Country Park on Thursday, 5th September. Our 5 workshop attendees learned some things to look out for in spotting healthy (and unhealthy trees) near and around their local rivers....

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Guided Walk Maps

Guided Walk Maps

The RiverLife team have delivered 11 guided activities related to riparian habitat near or along the Almond & Avon rivers.  From foraging to cycling to going on the hunt for otter signs and clues, our programme offers a variety of family friendly activities and...

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Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 2

Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 2

If you have read Part 1 you will have realised that the tortoise wasn’t actually a tortoise, it was a terrapin, some might even argue a turtle, but hey I’m no expert! On the day between the stakeout and the capture of the terrapin we were out on an INNS patrol...

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Howden Landscape Changes

Howden Landscape Changes

For generations, mills to process materials – such as grain, paper and iron – cropped up along the banks of the river Almond. Each mill required a weir, and whilst they are an ingenious way to slow water, move it through a lade to turn a wheel or fill a mill pond,...

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Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 1

Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 1

Working with the Forth Rivers Trust most days / weeks throw-up new challenges, last week was no exception. Following reports of terrapin/s being spotted in the river Almond and subsequently an excellent photograph that tied in a location we decided to go on a hunt....

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Wild Wednesdays

Wild Wednesdays

West Lothian Council Ranger Service have a fantastic family engagement initiative that gets pulled out every summer – the “Wild Wednesday”. This initiative is in a different location each week throughout summer and has nature themed activities and stalls for people to...

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The elusive Bogburn lagoon Great Crested Newt

The elusive Bogburn lagoon Great Crested Newt

Earlier this year, an Environmental DNA sample - from one of the flood lagoons by the Bogburn in Bathgate- signalled the presence of the European protected Great Crested Newt (GCN).  I will not pretend to understand the intricacies of Environmental DNA sampling,...

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Pollinator Survey Workshop

Pollinator Survey Workshop

On the 1st of August we had a special guest appearance from our friends over in Buglife! With the creation of the new project, B-Lines, in West Lothian we decided to do a partnership workshop to give some of our volunteers the chance to skill up in a new area. The aim...

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Crazy Croquet at Polbeth Gala Day

Crazy Croquet at Polbeth Gala Day

Despite threatening rain, the sun shone for the crowds who turned up at Polbeth’s annual Gala Day on 29th June. We (public artists, Minty Donald and Nick Millar) were delighted that it stayed dry and that our Polbeth Crazy Croquet game proved so popular. A constant...

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Balsam Bashing on the Almond

Balsam Bashing on the Almond

With the sun shining down on us, we made our way to the site. On the river Almond, near the canal feeder weir, we spot our target – a stand of the invasive alien invader Himalayan balsam. We are here to end this flower’s dominance on this patch of the riverbank. Armed...

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