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PICTURES: Royal seal of approval for Ross-shire woodland as Princess Anne visits Evanton Community Wood which was brought into community ownership in 2012 and proved an asset during the coronavirus pandemic

By Ian Duncan

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Princess Anne saw a variety of activities when she visited a Ross-shire woodland.

She was at Evanton Community Wood, near Dingwall, where she met a number of volunteers and regular users of the area.

There was splendid sunshine when she arrived and was welcomed by Joanie Whiteford – the Lord-Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty .

She was introduced to Douglas Wilson, the chairman of the wood, who explained how it had been brought into community ownership in 2012 and had been a real asset during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her Royal Highness saw the 1st Ross-Shire Rangers practising their outdoor cooking skills for their Duke of Edinburgh’s awards. They spoke about how they have used the wood during this time to meet weekly.

The Princess Royal also met Adrian Clark, the secretary of the wood, who told her about the history and management of the area

She then visited Mag’s Wood shelter meeting the volunteer group along the way.

At the shelter she was introduced to the volunteers who built it and the engineering team who helped maintain the paths.

This included lead engineer Don Fraser, project manager David Smith, engineer Alan Johnstone and committee member Patricia Snow.

Treasurer Penny Gray guided her to the pond area where she saw the Primary 7 class from Kiltearn Primary School pond dipping – they had spent time in the woods as part of their outdoor education.

Elsewhere in the wood the class were also shelter building and making art from natural objects from the woods.

Wilson said, “It was a great opportunity to show the fantastic work that has been done by the dedicated volunteers over many years. We are very lucky to have such a beautiful resource so close to the village, which has really helped so many people during the pandemic.”

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