As I waited in a lay-by close to Otterburn in multiple layers of clothing with the car temperature registering minus 5, I wondered what I had got myself into. This thought deepened as we pulled into the car park. As we gathered the tools from the van, Whitelee Moor towered before me. The scale of the reserve was hard to get my head around, unfortunately before this could be considered there was the 35 minute walk up to where we would be working. Thankfully an early lunch was called and we huddled behind a makeshift shelter of coir logs.
The job itself is a fairly simple one, installing coir dams to block up ditches and prevent water running off the Moor. As a result of this task, the internationally important blanket bogs are maintained, a wide range of mosses are found and moorland birds such as curlew, lapwing and golden plover breed there in the spring.
The views from the stop were simply breath-taking, with great views of the Cheviots and North into Scotland; if not for the freezing wind, I would have spent more time admiring them. Ken resorted to doing star jumps whilst Duncan showed us how to do the task. Yet despite the wildness and freezing cold, the Moor had a strange allure which drew me in and walking back to the van I found myself looking forward to returning.
The first three months of my placement have been incredible, I have no doubt this feeling will continue into the New Year and hopefully when I write the next blog, we will have had some snow!