A few weeks ago Andy Wilson, site manager for Borders Forest Trust (BFT) was startled by an offer from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland to arrange for a large group of people to come and plant trees, as part of BFT’s effort to bring back more natural woodland and moorland vegetation to the Moffat and Tweedsmuir Hills.

BFT’s long term vision, Reviving the Wild Heart of Southern Scotland, currently involves work on three large sites, Carrifran Wildwood, Corehead & Devil’s Beef Tub and Talla & Gameshope, and the focus for planting at present is on the last of these, near Tweedsmuir.

XR’s original suggestion of 100 or more people was scaled down to make it more manageable, and last weekend about 70 volunteers from Extinction Rebellion planted over 5000 broadleaved trees on the steep slopes of the Gameshope valley near the Talla reservoir (pictured).

Around 25 people camped overnight on Friday and Saturday last weekend, with a musical evening at the bothy on the Saturday following a day of cloudless skies and brilliant sunshine.

The Sunday was a more typical dreich Scottish day, but planting continued and the damp volunteers left in the afternoon in good spirits.

Borders Forest Trust would like to thank all those with BFT and XR who helped to make this event a success. We hope that readers of the Border Telegraph will share our admiration for the tough young (and older) volunteers of XR, and perhaps come and join some of BFT’s volunteer opportunities.

Extinction Rebellion people have shown this weekend that they are ready to take practical and constructive action as well as calling the attention of the public and those in power to the urgency of responding much more vigorously to accelerating climate change.

We look forward to hosting similar events at our BFT sites.

Philip Ashmole

Kidston Mill, Peebles