It was strange to be holding the AGM on home turf this year, and not just in Dumfries but in my house at Newtonrigg. It was a lot easier to prepare from here rather than having to lug all the equipment to somewhere else. We stuck to the usual arrangement of holding a Board meeting followed by the AGM as this has proved to be a successful recipe for the day.
One of the key issues for the Board was how the Trust is working following the restructuring carried out earlier in the year. I was glad to be able to report that is very much a case of so far so good. Our finances are in good shape and we have plenty of work on, with more in the pipeline. With the Board, I was keen to identify the key areas of work that the Trust would engage with. In summary these will be: Scotland's Moorland Forum, bracken control, development of study sites, heather beetle and carbon related issues. However, this is not to say that we will not be reactive to other areas of work.
After a morning of meetings, it was good to get out to where it all happens. Ben Weatherall was kind enough to host a visit to his moor at Troloss, about 20 miles from Dumfries, on the watershed of the Southern Uplands. We were blessed by good weather and were able to inspect the heather regeneration work, using the spray-burn-reseed technique, that has been in progress for the last 8 years. The results were very encouraging and it was a surprise for all of us, including Ben, to see a good number of grouse. The comment was made that it was rare to see so many grouse on a HT AGM visit!