24 January, 2013
Last week took me on a trip to Dumbarton Castle. The castle drains are needing upgrading and this is going to require excavation of a pipe to the front of the castle. This will mean the removal of a couple of sycamore.
As all trees in the area are potential bat roosts it is necessary to check whether there are any in these trees before work is carried out. Old trees have rot holes, cracks, fissures and hollow trunks – all of which may provide a haven for bats. If these features are present, a licensed bat worker has to be involved. In this case the trees are sound in limb and trunk so there’s no problem.
Afterwards, I took the opportunity to look at a couple of projects I had been involved in recently. Two new trails have been created for the castle to increase the interest for visitors, especially the younger ones.
One trail is based on the theme of ‘survival on the edge’ and is aimed at five-to-fourteen-year-olds. This was inspired by the siege in 870 when the rock was at the frontier of the Strathclyde kingdom. Vikings led by Olaf ‘the White’ besieged the rock for four months and it finally fell when the defenders ran out of water.
The other trail was written by two local amateur geologists, Barbara Balfour and Allison Drummond. Most people are unaware of the site’s geological significance, but it is protected by legislation, and it can tell quite a story of Dumbarton’s past. View the ‘Geological Features of Dumbarton Rock’ leaflet on the Historic Scotland website for more information.
Both of these make a visit to Dumbarton even more fascinating and worthwhile.