On Tuesday the 9th of October I assisted with a guided walk. Our leader was Sarah one of the South Stack volunteers. The walk started at around 11:00 am, Sarah started by explaining to the group what RSPB South Stack does in order to preserve the local environment.

This is our guide Sarah

Our group at the start of the walk, Sarah is explaining the walk and what we are likely to see. The route is to start as above and make its way down towards Ellins tower.

One of the views seen from our starting point.

We make our way down towards Ellins tower,my job is to act as a rear guard to ensure that all our guests complete the walk safely.

One of the plants seen by the path.

Our view from Ellins tower. Here Sarah explained about the sea birds that visit South stack each year.

They start arriving at the end of March and they have all left by the end of July. This year we had about 8000 Guillemots, 1500 Razorbills a number of Fulmars and Kittiwakes, and of course Puffins.

Here we are ascending the path from the tower up to the top road and the start of our walk over the mountain. We do not actually do any hard walking as our route is fairly gentle (this is how hardened walkers would no doubt describe it).

The view from the top of the path.

We start the second phase of the walk. Sarah once again explaining what we are likely to encounter.

Making our way to the top.

Sarah spots  a rock plant akin to an alpine plant.

She describes the plant and names the species. I was impressed by her knowledge as were our guests.

The  top of our path.

We have been brought here to see how the sheep  help to maintain our reserve by their grazing.

This is Pete our local Shepard. He is engaged each year to use his sheep to graze the land. Denise our reserve warden manages the grazing by liaising with Pete the Shepherd

Pete personally trains all of his dogs. We were all very impressed how his commands were interpreted by his dog who kept the sheep within the confines to which he was controlling.

The above picture shows the distance over which the sheepdog was used to manage the flock.

We watch the Shepherd giving his commands. Sarah explains exactly how the sheep help to manage the reserve.

We  make our way onwards.

We arrive at a small lake. When the lighthouse was first commissioned in February 1809 there were two families living on the island. These were the lighthouse keeper and his family and his assistant and family.

The lighthouse keeper and his wife raised seven children on the island, his assistant and his wife raised five. The reason for explaining this is the fact that there was no running water on the island. This must have been extremely hard for the women.

A canvas hose was run from a small lake part way up the mountain into a slate tank situated on the mainland side of the island. Water was carried manually over a rope bridge from this slate tank and poured into a second slate tank on the island. It was from here that all water used on the island was obtained. I often wonder if the small lake in the above picture was in fact the lake from which the canvas hose was run.

 Skirting the lake and journeying onwards.

The end is now in sight as we approach the RSPB centre.

A few people lag behind observing a pair of chough.

Here we are back at the centre were we will be served with a well earned bowl of soup and coffee.

We all enjoyed the walk and now knowing the layout of our reserve in more detail maybe our guests will return in the future.

Bye for now Mel.

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