When I arrived at Loch of the Lowes for my first day as Visitor Centre Assistant on Monday 13th December 2010, little did I comprehend the rollercoaster ride of highs, lows, triumphs and dramas that the next 6 years, 7 months and a day would take me on. This Friday will be an equally emotional day, as it will be my last day at Loch of the Lowes before I move on to pastures new.
Having spent the preceding summer working as a seasonal staff member for the RSPB on the Lake District Osprey Project, I’d got a taste for ospreys and red squirrels and was eager for more. I was delighted to have secured a permanent position (my first in wildlife conservation) and excited to be living and working in such a beautiful part of Scotland.
The first six months or so was a steep learning curve to say the least, however I rose to the challenge and with a first osprey season under my belt found myself promoted to Visitor Centre Assistant Manager, overseeing the day-to-day running of the Visitor Centre. In the years that followed there have been many, many highlights and I couldn’t possibly mention them all but here are just a few that stand out…
2012 – Overseeing the refurbishment of the visitor centre and observation hide
2013 – “Lady” successfully fledges her 50th chick, Blue YZ
2014 – “Lady’s Tree” wins the inaugural Scottish Tree of the Year contest
2015 – A Red-necked Phalarope unexpectedly turns up on the loch – a very significant record for Perth & Kinross
2016 – The Scottish Government announces that Beavers are here to stay in Scotland, including at Loch of the Lowes!
Throughout this time I have been supported by a wonderful team of staff and volunteers, without whom working at Loch of the Lowes would not have been half as enjoyable an experience. All of them have their own particular skills and experience which they bring to the team and it is this combination of talents which makes the place work. I will miss them all very much but know that I am leaving the visitor centre in safe hands, and that the reserve will continue to provide a safe home for the ospreys and the wealth of other amazing wildlife to be found here.
I will also miss the many hundreds of visitors, members and supporters who either visit or contact us on a daily basis. Loch of the Lowes and Scottish Wildlife Trust simply couldn’t do what we do without your continued support, so a big thank you to each and every one of you.
Despite feeling sadness at leaving I am excited at the prospect of what is to come, both for myself and for Scotland’s wildlife. I am moving to Shetland in a few week’s time and will have a whole new cast of wildlife to familiarise myself with (hopefully including Orcas!). Like you though I will be eagerly checking out the blog for the latest news of PH1 & PH2’s progress.
Acting Visitor Centre Manager