Looking back over the Inner Forth Festival 2016

As September ends so does the sensational second Inner Forth Festival. Over the month hundreds of people came to over 30 events all around the area to help us celebrate this fantastic landscape.

Fifteen different organisations worked with us to make the festival possible, offering a huge range of events from boat trips to bioblitzes, from cycles to conference, and from plays to photography workshops. Below we've got together a small selection of photos from some of the events to give you a taste of what was on offer. 

 

The Maid of the Forth, docked at South Queensferry, ready for the event that kickstarted the Festival: The Forth From A New Perspective. We were joined on board by guests and volunteers, as well as speakers from organisations like Falkirk Community Trust, Buglife, RSPB and more to learn about the projects IFLI are running up and down the shores of the Forth.

The trip went along the southern shore past Blackness and Kinneil, under the Kincardine Bridge and back down the northern edge. We also had Mark Kirkham aka The Edinburgh Sketcher onboard to take sketching and watercolour workshops.

We were also at Historic Environment Scotland's fantastic Siege on the Forth event at Blackness Castle on 3-4 September, which attracted nearly 2,000 people with battle re-enactments and wildlife activities.

Later that week we held a Heritage Walk in Culross. There are few better places in the Inner Forth than Culross for an event like this, as the town remains remarkably similar to how it was build several hundred years ago.

Just after this we worked with Braveheart on another of their healthy walks, this time around Cambus Pools Nature Reserve, which is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. IFLI is working with SWT on a project to improve the wetlands for wildlife. We really enjoyed walking to the Reserve along the new path, which was created by Central Scotland Green Network Trust as part of an IFLI project to improve path access.

During September we also hosted more of our year-round ID workshops. There was a bryophytes workshop at Wester Moss, and later, at Skinflats another in our series of Mothing Around the Forth events. There were workshops on fungi, bats and estuary birds as well.

On the 14th there was an all-day conference called 'Defeating the Invaders' in Stirling. It discussed the issues of non-native invasive species and how to go about tackling them, bringing together people from all kinds of organisations and volunteers in the public, private and third sectors, and was a great oppurtunity to share ideas and learn.

In the past we've hosted birding cycling events, but this time we got on our bikes to explore some of the significant historical locations along the shores of the Forth. Starting at Stirling Cycle Hub, the History By Bike event took in Alloa and Clackmannan Towers before ending at Kennetpans Distillery.

As part of Marine Conservation Society's Great British Beach Clean national weekend, we organised a beach cleaning event at Limekilns. There was a fantastic turnout, with over 30 people helping to clear the beach of over 1000 pieces of litter and waste. What was found was also catalogued and the data sent to MCS to help them work to stop waste going into the water system at source.

And round off the month there were two performances of a specially-written play Smugglers, Spies and Stolen Plums Pies, all about Alloa's past life as a busy port town. Based on original historical research by IFLI volunteer Ian Middleton, it was put on by The Walking Theatre Company with help from pupils from Alloa Academy - where the play was performed.

All photos by the IFLI team

Last but not least: a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in putting an event together, or who took the time to attend.

IFLI run events all year round, each aimed at promoting the natural, cultural and built heritage of the Inner Forth landscape. You can see what's on currently by visiting our Events Calender. All of our events are free to attend thanks to the way we are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 

 

IFLI Inner Forth Festival 2016

This year's Inner Forth Festival, which is taking place throughout September 2016, is nearly at an end, as we celebrate the unique history, wildlife and people of this great part of the world!

There have been a whole range of events and activities - with something happening on nearly every day in September. We've tried to make sure that there is something for everyone - whatever your age, wherever you live in the area, and whether you are interested in history, wildlife, or just like getting out and about in our fantastic landscape. And all our events are FREE, thanks to the way we are funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund!
 
There have been archaeological surveys, a specially-written play, moth mornings, bat hunts, history-themed bike rides, healthy walks, fascinating exhibitions and talks, a rare chance to climb an ancient tower, scrub bashing, wildlife workshops, and loads more exciting and fun ways to discover, explore and get involved in the Inner Forth landscape.
 
In all 33 events, organised by 15 different organisations, have been taking place during the month. Last year over 1000 people came along to these events, and we had some great feedback from people saying how much they had enjoyed their day, and what a fantastic place the inner Forth is. This year we think we have increased that number, which is great news.

We are very grateful to the huge range of organisations and volunteers that make the Festival possible by organising, running and supporting the month’s events. We really couldn’t do it without them!

Once the month comes to an end we will be posting a round-up of some of the highlights, so do watch this space to find out more.!

Kennetpans weekend in the spotlight

The historic Kennetpans Distillery, near Kincardine, will be the focus of a whole weekend of free activities organised by the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative next week.

Whether you’re interested helping discover more about the building’s rich history, recording some of the wildlife that now makes Kennetpans its home, or capturing the site in sketches, there will be an activity for you.

Built in the early 18th century, Kennetpans was once one the country's largest and most technologically advanced distilleries, producing vast quantities of spirit, which was exported far and wide. Before shipping, the spirit was stored in a large warehouse behind the main distillery building.

The primary focus of IFLI's Wee Dram at Kennetpans project, led by Historic Environment Scotland, is this distillery building, which is undergoing extensive clearance and consolidation to preserve it for future generations. But IFLI would like to know more about the wider site, and has teamed up with AOC Archaeology to work with volunteers to undertake a weekend project focused on the warehouse building. On Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July you can join the IFLI team to help survey the building and produce an accurate record of its current condition. There will be a whole host of activities, from archaeological survey and drawing through to photogrammetry and laser scanning.

These days the whole site is quieter with much of it being reclaimed by nature. Stonework is covered in ivy, the warehouse now ‘stores’ woodland and the mudflats by the pier provide food for wading birds.

As part of the Kennetpans weekend, IFLI and Buglife will be carrying out a free Bioblitz on Saturday 9 July – a rapid survey of wildlife of all types – and local people are invited to take part. Whether they are experienced naturalists, students looking to develop identification skills, or a family with an interest in nature, there will be something for them. IFLI will be aiming to explore the site and create as many new wildlife records as they can. IFLI plans to add these new records to the Inner Forth Nature Counts iRecord form which is helping to build a better picture of wildlife in the landscape.

On Sunday 10 July people can learn speed sketching skills and tips from Mark Kirkham, the Edinburgh Sketcher. During the sketch tour you can learn or improve speed sketching skills and pick up new tips which will allow you to document and survey the world around you in ink on paper. All ages and abilities will have the chance to draw in ink and watercolour, and take away a mounted piece of work, following a sketching tour around the Kennetpans Distillery. 

Surveying the Warehouse: Sat. 9 July, 9:30am - Sun. 10 July, 4:00pm

Kennetpans Bioblitz: Sat. 9th July, 10:00am - 4:00pm

Sketch Tour with the Edinburgh Sketcher: Sun 10. July, 10:00am - 3:00pm

All the events are free to attend thanks to the way IFLI is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Booking is essential as places are limited, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01324 831 568.

Discover new wildlife hotspots in the Inner Forth

Are you interested in nature? Would you like to discover a new wildlife haven and learn more about the species that live there? The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) is hosting a series of walks in Falkirk, Fife, Stirling and Clackmannanshire to showcase its project sites and explore the wildlife in more detail. Local people are invited to come along, enjoy the walk and use some simple wildlife identification techniques to unlock the secrets of each unique location.

The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative is responsible for six Survey Walk routes in a range of locations with a team of registered volunteers who have been walking these routes on a regular basis, identifying wildlife and recording their sightings. These upcoming events are an opportunity for existing volunteers to share the experiences and knowledge they have gained in the process of getting to know their adopted Survey Walk, and to encourage new people to get involved.

The sessions will consist of a guided walk where established volunteers and newcomers can share their observations and work together to record new species. With the help of IFLI’s Wildlife Recording Assistant, attendees will walk the route and spend some time identifying plants, birds, mammals and insects. Results will be contributed to the National Biodiversity Network recording scheme, which will help future conservation work and research. IFLI is keen to encourage people of any experience level to join in the walk and learn more about the area, the wildlife and the ongoing work of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative.

Commenting on the events, Adam Ross, IFLI Wildlife Recording Assistant said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for our volunteers to regroup and share their experiences of recording wildlife in the Inner Forth area. Our volunteers have been surveying these sites for a while now, monitoring seasonal changes and improving their knowledge with every visit, so I’m looking forward to hearing about their observations. I hope newcomers will be inspired to explore these locations and consider getting involved with recording and volunteering themselves. These events compliment the other work being done as part of the Forth Nature Counts project which aims to increase the level of wildlife recording in the area. We’re running 21 different Wildlife Identification workshops this year and our Survey Walks also offer people the chance to put new knowledge into practice.”

The free sessions will take place in a variety of locations, including historic estates in High Valleyfield and Bo’ness, RSPB’s newest nature reserve in Alloa, the sprawling Devilla pinewood forest and the former coal mining bing in Fallin, which has now been re-designated as a wildflower meadow. Each site has its own unique personality, with a range of fascinating habitats and species. Here is the full list of dates:

·         Friday 17th June, 5pm – Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness.

·         Friday 24th June, 10am –Valleyfield Estate, High Valleyfield.

·         Wednesday 27th July, 1pm  - Fallin Bing, Fallin.

·         Friday 19th August, 1pm -  Devilla Forest, Kincardine.

·         Thursday 15th September, 4.30pm – Kinneil Local Nature Reserve & Foreshore, Bo’ness

·         Saturday 24th September, 2.30pm – Black Devon Wetlands Reserve, Alloa.

Like all IFLI events, each Survey Walk session is free of charge, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.  No previous knowledge or experience is necessary, but under 16s should be accompanied by an adult. As sessions are mostly outside, IFLI advises that you wear sensible outdoor clothing and footwear for the weather forecasted and for walking off footpaths. Advance booking is advised.  Contact Adam Ross, 01324 831568, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to book your place.

These workshops are part of a suite of activities and events that will be organised over the next two years as part of IFLI’s Forth Nature Counts project.  The project aims to generate wildlife records and give people the confidence and skills to record nature throughout the Inner Forth, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.

First May the Forth Fun Run takes off

Over 120 runners joined in the May the Forth Fun Run at Bo'ness! You can check times and placings here. IFLI worked in partnership with The Friends of Kinneil to organise the event, with lots of help of course! Despite the darkening skies and strong winds, runners from all around the Inner Forth area and beyond turned up to tackle the 4-mile, off-road course. All the runners were awarded special ceramic 'medals' cast from shells and stones from the Bo'ness Foreshore, made by Falkirk potter Susan Wade French. The winners also received hand-thrown plates showing the view across the bay of the Inner Forth. Our thanks to all the runners, volunteers, and organising team (Falkirk Community Trust, Falkirk Council, Bo'ness Chiropractic and Sports Massage, Friends of Kinneil Foreshore Group) for their support. There are loads of photos and a provisional results list at https://www.facebook.com/events/1688192378136558/. We will be posting more, along with the final results list very soon. If you did take part we hope you had a great time, and will give us your feedback.

Images: In keeping with the theme of the day, Princes Leia helps with registration!; Runners wait to get started; British Olympic marathon runner Freya Ross (in pale green) gave out the prizes to the winning runners, helped by Rob Storey of Bo'ness Choropractic and Sports Massage (l), who came up with the original idea for the run. Details of the winning names at https://www.facebook.com/events/1688192378136558/.

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