It seems reasonable to offer a small insight into the working of the SHMG given it has been such a difficult year.
Nobody really needs any reminder of the awful weather, but some of its effect on The Hill has been significant. Our pathways suffered greatly from miring and erosion caused by the rain, although in itself this serves as a good indicator that the Hill is well used by a wide range of walkers.
In a normal summer the effect of winter wear patterns is largely countered by a tendency for the surfaces to repair themselves as the ground dries out. In 2012 this just did not happen and quite a lot of damage can be seen wherever foot traffic is concentrated.
We are taking steps to rectify this with wood chippings, which absorb a lot of moisture and eventually integrate with the soil to consolidate the wear surfaces. The nature of the Hill terrain is such as to produce areas where there is limited natural drainage and reduced opportunities for remedial action.
As one might expect, the annual sheep grazing impacts on our pathways, although the benefits of having the sheep to eat away at the unwanted greenery outweighs most of the drawbacks of path erosion. In return, seasonal sheep grazing is one of the reasons why Selkirk Hill has a superb annual display of wild flowers envied by many other similar locations.On that note, the wet clammy weather has been perfect for wild growth, which means Campbell, our hill warden has been faced with a nearly impossible task to keep our network of pathways open from Easter onwards. To liken the task to painting the Forth Rail Bridge is no exaggeration.
Over the last few years the Selkirk Hill Management Group has dwindled in numbers to a level where we have considerable problems getting through the various tasks which are involved in keeping the day-to-day running of the Hill as a Selkirk matter. We have a strong conviction the Selkirk people have the best idea of what they want on the Hill, and should be allowed to make their own decisions.
We are not a formal organisation in that we have masses of rules and protocols, rather than we achieve out best results by monthly meetings to discuss and agree what is required.
Contrary to popular belief there is little or no physical labour involved by members and we endeavour to keep administration tasks to a minimum.
For this reason we are keen to recruit some new members to the group and it does seem reasonable that in Selkirk where so many of its loyal citizens closely identify with their surroundings, there are more folk who might be prepared to become involved with the SHMG.
Of course, we would not expect anyone to join us without first finding out what is involved. We have our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday in the Victoria Halls, which is open to the public, so why not come along to find out more or just to raise any matter you think worthy of our notice. You will be most welcome, and we will do our best to answer your queries and take good care of what is possibly Selkirk’s best asset.