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Placement Student Blog: My Time Well Spent

As part of experiencing the world of work, I undertook work experience at Glenlivet Estate. What attracted me to this area was the gently rolling hills, its beautiful tranquillity, and the opportunity to get a taste of ranger work and public engagement.

Doing a work placement at Glenlivet was inspired by a volunteer day I did with the Cairngorms National Park in May. We planted native trees, and I enjoyed that day so much that I spoke to Nick, the organiser of that event. He gave me the contact details of Mark the Head Ranger and I secured my placement.

On my first morning, the drive from Perth to Tomintoul was dark and grim as it was raining, but nonetheless, I got the opportunity to meet lots of lovely new people, including Jess the Forest Intern, and Karen the Countryside Business Assistant. I travelled to Tomintoul again on Friday and worked alongside Jess and Mark carrying out trail checks and maintenance tasks. 

The second week we attended an Information Sharing Day at Glenlivet Distillery where there was a presentation discussing the use of dams to store water during periods of low flow, as lots of water is being used by the distillery to produce their products. This was a research project initiated by postgraduate students from the University of Aberdeen.

Tomintoul Trail
Glenlivet Group

We also had a presentation from a Wilderness Foundation group. This presentation was really engaging as the students discussed their experience of being in the wilderness and spending the night in a Bothy.

After that, I was shown how to use and maintain a Chainsaw, although due to safety reasons I did not get the chance to actually use it.

The following week we attended a meeting discussing visitor management throughout the Cairngorms National Park and checked the path to Blairfindy Castle from Glenlivet distillery.

We spent a day at Glenmulliach where we met up with Liam, a high school student from Nairn Academy and Duncan, a Ranger from the Cairngorms National Park. We cleaned up pipes in a waterway higher up the moorlands building a dam using the large rocks surrounding the pipes to prevent sediment build up. Lower down in the forest we cleared vegetation and improved signage.

Week four started by cleaning the Lecht Well for which we got a lot of positive feedback from the community. We then spent a day with Nature 4 Health exploring opportunities to support mental health in the outdoors. We did acclimatisation and grounding exercises, made chocolate dough and listened to stories around the fire. It was a change of scenery from our normal practical tasks, and we learned a lot.

On my last week Jess and I placed three cameras in the woods outside the office to capture pictures of small wildlife. We also carried out further trail checks and maintenance works.

I had a very enjoyable few weeks at Glenlivet. I built my strength up, and most importantly, I met some wonderful people along the way. In a way, it felt like a small family.

Taylor Robertson, 4th Year student studying BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

Using nature for mental health
Bridge repairs