Blog

2nd West Lothian Scouts Introduction to Angling

2nd West Lothian Scouts Introduction to Angling

Thanks again to Linlithgow Angling Club (LAC) who organised a two-part event this year for the 2nd West Lothian Scouts, funded through RiverLife’s Intro to Angling Programme. The first part of this, a casting lesson with instructors from Scottish Angler’s National...

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Polkemmet Tree Workshop

Polkemmet Tree Workshop

​The RiverLife team had a fantastic tree inspection workshop with Friends of Polkemmet Country Park on Thursday, 5th September. Our 5 workshop attendees learned some things to look out for in spotting healthy (and unhealthy trees) near and around their local rivers....

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Guided Walk Maps

Guided Walk Maps

The RiverLife team have delivered 11 guided activities related to riparian habitat near or along the Almond & Avon rivers.  From foraging to cycling to going on the hunt for otter signs and clues, our programme offers a variety of family friendly activities and...

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Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 2

Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 2

If you have read Part 1 you will have realised that the tortoise wasn’t actually a tortoise, it was a terrapin, some might even argue a turtle, but hey I’m no expert! On the day between the stakeout and the capture of the terrapin we were out on an INNS patrol...

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Howden Landscape Changes

Howden Landscape Changes

For generations, mills to process materials – such as grain, paper and iron – cropped up along the banks of the river Almond. Each mill required a weir, and whilst they are an ingenious way to slow water, move it through a lade to turn a wheel or fill a mill pond,...

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Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 2

Tortoise and the Hare (Almond Style) Part 1

Working with the Forth Rivers Trust most days / weeks throw-up new challenges, last week was no exception. Following reports of terrapin/s being spotted in the river Almond and subsequently an excellent photograph that tied in a location we decided to go on a hunt....

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Wild Wednesdays

Wild Wednesdays

West Lothian Council Ranger Service have a fantastic family engagement initiative that gets pulled out every summer – the “Wild Wednesday”. This initiative is in a different location each week throughout summer and has nature themed activities and stalls for people to...

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The elusive Bogburn lagoon Great Crested Newt

The elusive Bogburn lagoon Great Crested Newt

Earlier this year, an Environmental DNA sample - from one of the flood lagoons by the Bogburn in Bathgate- signalled the presence of the European protected Great Crested Newt (GCN).  I will not pretend to understand the intricacies of Environmental DNA sampling,...

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Pollinator Survey Workshop

Pollinator Survey Workshop

On the 1st of August we had a special guest appearance from our friends over in Buglife! With the creation of the new project, B-Lines, in West Lothian we decided to do a partnership workshop to give some of our volunteers the chance to skill up in a new area. The aim...

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Crazy Croquet at Polbeth Gala Day

Crazy Croquet at Polbeth Gala Day

Despite threatening rain, the sun shone for the crowds who turned up at Polbeth’s annual Gala Day on 29th June. We (public artists, Minty Donald and Nick Millar) were delighted that it stayed dry and that our Polbeth Crazy Croquet game proved so popular. A constant...

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Balsam Bashing on the Almond

Balsam Bashing on the Almond

With the sun shining down on us, we made our way to the site. On the river Almond, near the canal feeder weir, we spot our target – a stand of the invasive alien invader Himalayan balsam. We are here to end this flower’s dominance on this patch of the riverbank. Armed...

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Fencing on the Upper Avon

Fencing on the Upper Avon

This summer - adding to the bank protection, tree planting and drainage work carried out as part of the Upper Avon Enhancement project - 2km of stock fencing was erected along the left bank.  This will protect riverbank vegetation from overgrazing and reduce the risk...

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West Lothian College photography

West Lothian College photography

Since 2017, West Lothian College photography students have been producing excellent river themed photography for the RiverLife project.  This year was no exception with higher students taking some beautiful shots of their local rivers.  Dont worry if you didn't make...

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Wild Wednesday Winchburgh

Wild Wednesday Winchburgh

Wild Wednesday in Winchburgh last week saw a poor weather induced low turnout.  However, those that braved the rain and made it to the RiverLife tent were awarded by a variety of activities.  We had our play booth, chalk board, habitat throw game, invertebrates from...

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The woes of Balsam

The woes of Balsam

 sThis is the right time of year to head out on the banks of your local river and find some Himalayan balsam. This invasive plant species uses watercourses as a transport corridor for seeds, so you will find them lining the banks of rivers big and small. When these...

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Aspen propagation workshop

Aspen propagation workshop

Today, RiverLife volunteers propagated around 250 cuttings using suckers from wild aspen root cuttings collected from the Pentland hills back in March.  You can read about that day here: https://www.river-life.org.uk/aspen-root-collection/.  After collecting the root...

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Aspen Refresh Workshop

Aspen Refresh Workshop

On the 19th June we organised an Aspen refresh workshop for our project that focusses on the identification and location surveying of Aspen in West Lothian. This project is in association with Eadha trees who we have been working in partnership with throughout this...

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Aspen in the classroom

Aspen in the classroom

June saw the inaugural ‘Aspen in the classroom’ sessions with four schools in the Almond and Avon catchments – St Mary’s RC Polbeth, Mid Calder Primary, Whitecross Primary and Riverside Primary.  Adding to the great success of ‘Fish in the classroom’ – now an...

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Howden Rock Ramp Opening Event

Howden Rock Ramp Opening Event

Work began on the rock ramp at Howden weir in autumn last year, well, these were the works that can be seen by those passing by or living near by. Plans for the easement of the weir have been ongoing in offices of various organisations for several years. Ending with...

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9th West Lothian Scouts Fishing Night

9th West Lothian Scouts Fishing Night

On a pleasant Tuesday evening on 11th June, 2 RiverLifers, 2 volunteers from West Lothian Angling club, 2 Scout leaders, 1 Scout parent volunteer and around 20 Scouts met at a trout fishery for any evening of fly fishing and to progress further towards the Scouts’...

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Bog burn volunteering session 3

Bog burn volunteering session 3

Today’s session, with 5 volunteers - including our regular angling club and community council members as well as a freshwater science PHD student and first time RiverLife volunteer – was based around the Bathgate lagoons.  This series of ponds is a fantastic wetland...

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Craigshill volunteering session 6

Craigshill volunteering session 6

2 volunteers from Craigsfarm Community hub and RiverLife met on 6th June to continue some path maintenance below Howden bridge weir.  Reclaimed wood from the excellent Move On Wood Recycling in Edinburgh was used to add an edge to the path where footfall is causing...

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Learning to be otter spotters

Learning to be otter spotters

Although shy and elusive, otters thrive in Scotland and are often seen along the River Almond. During the construction of the Howden Weir Rock Ramp, the contractors often saw the resident local otters and plenty of signs were found by the team, especially towards the...

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Limefield Falls Art Competition

Limefield Falls Art Competition

May will see the first part of a new project running in Polbeth linking students at the local high school with planned work on the River. The Limefield Falls art competition will involve S2 art students from West Calder High School. The competition will be integrated...

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Science Team Q&A sessions at Howden Weir

Science Team Q&A sessions at Howden Weir

The construction of a rock ramp at Howden weir is the largest capital works project undertaken by the RiverLife team to date. The rock ramp has been created to allow the passage of migratory fish upstream of the weir and took six months to complete. As an obvious and...

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Duck Race at Rugby Club By-Pass Channel

Duck Race at Rugby Club By-Pass Channel

With the completion of the works at the rugby club weir, the RiverLife team wanted to run an event to mark the occasion. This was the perfect opportunity to satisfy the Forth Rivers Trust directors desire to run a duck race. Turns out that this was a masterstroke, the...

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Bog burn volunteering

Bog burn volunteering

One of the RiverLife project’s main aims is the restoration of the Bog burn – including re-meandering the watercourse and improving public access.  However, this work is partially dependant on ground investigation works which will assess potential contamination from...

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