New Ranger Cathy Hooper has been with us for a little over two months now. We took some time to ask her what’s she’s been working on during her first eight weeks in Northumberland.
“I can’t believe it’s been 2 months already. The time flies when you’re having fun! Moving to this role from a private Estate in Midlothian has been a refreshing change. To work as part of a larger Ranger Team especially at such an exciting time with the Sill Project development has been great. The scenery even gives the Pentland Hills a run for their money!
After some great induction time at Eastburn it was straight in at the deep end for the 60th Birthday celebrations at Walltown. The weather was abysmal but spirits were high as marquees were erected in what could be described as rather challenging conditions. However, a large group of happy children (seemingly oblivious to the arctic windchill) soon arrived to set about enjoying the various natural art activities and rather impressive cake!
Later in the week, I was at Catcleugh with some of the Park volunteers, many of whom have studied the site for years. It is a fantastic structure with many interesting artefacts. Out came the feather duster as the volunteers set about giving the site a fresh lick of paint and clearing the path to the dam, ready for the first guided walks at the start of May. Although I’ve only had chance to meet a small proportion of our volunteers, their commitment, knowledge and passion for what they do has been very impressive.
Another project I’ve been involved with is responding to queries from members of the public / farmers regarding access/rights of way and infrastructure with tasks including the replacement of gates, waymarkers and finger posts. Chipping of felled timber has also been a key task.
Proving how wonderful our volunteers are, we gave the visitor facilities a refresh at Walltown recently under the direction of several experienced volunteer painters who were more than willing to spend the day cheerily painting the loo walls!
The processing of car park machines has been a less exciting feature of my diary but this is always brightened by the members of the public who often approach the Rangers to discuss various issues when we are out and about. Many query the construction at the old Once Brewed site and are impressed to hear of the exciting plans for the future.
Latterly, work has included infrastructure and woodland surveys along with landscaping work at Once Brewed. I’m already looking forward to the rest of the year!”
Cathy will be providing further updates later in the year.