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Schiehallion Project: Update 1

I’m back in the studio today after 4 wonderful days exploring Schiehallion and doing research for my current project which launches in August. I spent most of my time exploring new trails and catching up on conservation efforts by the John Muir Trust team.

Cat Burton at Schiehallion
Cat Burton at Schiehallion

Many of you will know that as much as I love featuring nature, wildlife and yes, lone trees (!) in my artworks, I also care deeply about them. I’m passionate about conservation, the environment and the good work like that being done by charities such as the John Muir Trust at places like Schiehallion. My current project is a fine art one which will also include a lot of additional conservation and nature photography. It’s my favourite photography topics combined.

Conservation work at Schiehallion
Conservation work at Schiehallion

In the autumn, I joined them for some tree planting and took a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos. They planted 6000 native trees at Schiehallion last year. A quick check up on the tree babies and they look to be doing great! Every tube I looked in had buds/needles!

Tree regeneration at Schiehallion
Tree regeneration at Schiehallion

Where the team have felled an old plantation, native trees such as pines and rowans are returning. They are tiny and an absolute delight to see. All that dead/fallen wood you see near the Schiehallion path & car park isn’t a mess or in need of cleaning up…it’s a patch of nature recovering – a little thriving ecosystem of native trees emerging on the side of Schiehallion. Some like the pine are tiny (3-4 cm), others such as rowans reaching about 15cm already. It’s really wonderful to see!

Tree regeneration at Schiehallion
Tree regeneration at Schiehallion

And of course, when native woodland regenerates, it provides a home for animals and beasties of all sizes. I lost count of the number of butterflies, spiders, heather beetles, bees and yes, midges, that I saw during the trip.

Butterfly on a fallen plantation tree at Schiehallion
Butterfly on a fallen plantation tree at Schiehallion

But my absolute favourite moment in the 4 days at Schiehallion was when I went to say hello to my friends Liz and Izzy from John Muir Trust and a lovely little lizard came to say hello. It sat on my leg sunbathing for ages! I made a little friend ❤

Lizard at Schiehallion
Lizard at Schiehallion

Now to sort through my hundreds of photos and work on more images for the summer exhibition which is all about Schiehallion, its nature, history, folklore and conservation. It takes place at the John Muir Trust centre in Pitlochry from August to October. Keep an eye on my social media feeds or sign up to my newsletter for the full details when it’s officially announced 🙂📷

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