President's Message Q3 2018
Dear Members and Friends,
As I write (13 July) our field visit season is in full swing. We have another excellent programme this year focussing on what we can learn and apply from our hosts' excellent woods.
A recent highlight for me was our visit to Glensaugh, hosted by Donald Barrie who manages the farm for the James Hutton Institute. Our tour stimulated a good discussion on the potential for a significant increase in farm forestry in these changing times for hill farming.
My thanks to all our kind hosts and our regional committees for all the work that goes into arranging these days. We welcome visitors to all our events and we hope this will encourage them to join. There is no qualification needed to become a member, only a love of trees.
You will read about many of these in the regional pages of our Journal, Scottish Forestry.
Special mention must be made of the brilliant Annual Excursion, based on Inverness, organised by Rod Pimm and attended by over 50 members. We were fortunate that Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and the local MSP, addressed us on the first morning. He spoke in very positive terms of the progress that forestry is making in Scotland and the prospects for further growth and expressed warm appreciation of the role of the Society.
Later we had a tour of the brand new £95m Norbord plant at Dalcross which will be able to process approximately 10% of Scotland's timber harvest.
Our three days concluded at Rothiemurchus Estate, owned and managed by the Grant family for 18 generations. Here traditional management of a Highland Estate provides the setting for a very sophisticated modern tourism business providing up to 75 jobs.
For me, the greatest benefit the Society offers is the opportunity to visit an amazing range of places we would never otherwise see. We are given very privileged insight by owners and managers and I think everyone learns something from the discussions that follow.
On 5 June we held a training day on forest soils, led by Jens Haufe and Andy Moffat at Ae. This was attended by 26 people who reported very favourably on what they had learned. We hope to repeat this at other locations next year.
We exhibited again at the Scottish Game Fair which attracts new forestry exhibitors every year. It is now probably the best show for forestry interest in Scotland and we would like to see it grow further. We met lots of members and recruited several new ones.
We will also look forward to seeing members at:
- The Highland Game Fair , Moy, 3-4 August
- The Galloway Country Fair, Drumlanrig, 18-19 August
- The Peebles Wood Market, 20-21 October
Please note in your diary next year's Annual Study Tour, based in Dunoon 12-15 May. An additional day, the 16th, will be held at Cashel our own forest on Loch Lomond, to include the official opening of the new Centennial footpath (to mark the Forestry Commission centenary) and the all-abilities path.
My final word is an exhortation to all members to find at least one more each. This wonderful Society belongs to us all. Many more people deserve to benefit. Please tell them about it.