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The Ultimate Satisfaction: Tree Planting in the Scottish Borders

With 'the Beast from the East' fading into memory, it seemed spring was just around the corner, and the Absolute Escapes team was as keen as ever to get back out into the great outdoors. In March, the perfect opportunity presented itself as we joined the John Muir Trust for two of their regular volunteering days at their Glenlude property, just a short drive south of our Edinburgh home.

What is Glenlude?

The short video below provides an insight into the great work being done at Glenlude. 

Want to find out what the teams’ highlights were and how you could end the day covered in fresh sawdust? Read on!

The John Muir Trust and Glenlude

At Absolute Escapes we’re committed to responsible and sustainable tourism, and we have been proud corporate members of the John Muir Trust since 2014. Put simply, the Trust’s vision is to protect and manage wild land, and they are passionate about encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with wild places.

Volunteering days on land owned by the Trust form a large part of this engagement, and with a choice of some of the most spectacular wild places in the UK such as the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland, or Helvellyn in the Lake District, volunteers are spoilt for choice. 

The Absolute Escapes team headed to Glenlude, just over an hour from Edinburgh and on the edge of the Southern Upland Way. Strangely for us, it wasn’t walking that was on the agenda this time though, as Glenlude’s focus is on reintroducing native woodland to the area.

What’s a typical day at Glenlude?

After two extremely varied days of volunteering, we’ve decided there’s no such thing as a “typical” day at Glenlude! A few things are guaranteed however: a warm welcome from the regular volunteers and Karen, the Glenlude property manager, the chance to learn new skills and about our wild land, and great biscuit breaks.

Across the two days our team enjoyed brashing (removing the lower branches of conifer trees to allow light to reach the forest floor), tree planting and nurturing, and were able to learn about the Glenlude tree nursery where native trees are being grown from seed to be planted on the property. And we all came away covered head to foot in sawdust from the trees!

The Absolute Escapes Highlights

Each member of the team had their own favourite part of the day, so here are a few of our highlights:

Working in nature and learning new practical skills - Scott

The satisfaction of seeing the clear impact we had, both immediately and in the long term - James

Tree planting and giving back to nature - Fern

Being out in the fresh air - Amanda

The newly open and sunlit forest floor, allowing new plants and wildlife to flourish - Charlotte

My walk around Glenlude whilst trying to find everyone gave me a great overview of the Trust’s conservation work in action - Andy

Yummy cake! - Jason

We came away with a range of new skills and interests to pursue, and an appreciation for how we can all contribute in small ways to the restoration of wild land and responsible tourism. A return trip to see how our trees are getting on is already on the cards!

Megan Bruce

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