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Site Condition Monitoring - Scottish Natural Heritage

Haycock and Jay Associates have established a solid reputation as specialists in upland vegetation survey completing many thousands of hectares of survey in the uplands of England and Scotland over the last four years.

Steve Heaton and Gordon Haycock in Scotland

In 2013 we were extremely pleased to be awarded the contract to undertake Site Condition Monitoring (SCM) and Vascular Plant Survey in some of the most iconic protected sites in UK including Glen Coe SAC, Ben Lui SAC, Rannoch Moor, a suite of sites in north Scotland and Fen Marsh and Swamp sites in South Scotland. In all 21 protected sites were assessed for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by our skilled botanical team led by Steve Heaton and Gordon Haycock with our seasonal ecologists Ndurie Abah, Graeme Guy and Janine Morris.

As well as the high level of botanical and habitat knowledge necessary, these sites present challenges due to their remote nature and unpredictable weather. Using our site safety procedures, over 120 days survey were undertaken for SNH without mishap.

Rum National Nature Reserve presented particular challenges as there are no roads on the this island of some 108kmē. To undertake survey Gordon and Steve packed rucksacks and spent four nights in walkers huts (bothies) and two nights wild camping (sometimes in extreme weather conditions) allowing access to the summits of Askival and Hallival and associated bealachs. This allowed us to undertake the most comprehensive SCM of calaminarian grassland on the island's ultra-basic rocks to date, as well as assessing siliceous scree, base-rich fen, blanket bog, wet heath, tall herb vegetation and calcareous scree.

Steve Heaton, Haycock and Jay Associate botanist, said "Surveying throughout the Highlands this summer has been both a challenge and a wondrous experience with so much still to discover at each site. I feel privileged to have worked on these protected sites, despite the struggle against the weather on occasions!"