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.
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.!