Notes from Head Ranger 24/04/17
Notes from the Head Ranger A Nervous Tick Well …. What an Easter it has been, we have begun in earnest with our Events and the guide and have welcomed a record number of Visitors over the Easter Holidays who have enjoyed walks, the adventure playground and our Easter Egg Scramble. Both the Rangers and the Café Staff have worked incredibly hard to provide the visitors with an excellent service. There is always a degree of breath holding as we encounter our first busy period after the winter but there was no need! Over 300 children participated in the scramble and 305 people visited Pen Y Garreg Dam on our first Open day of the year raising £367 for Water Aid. Prior to these events the Rangers conducted a litter pick of the valley, Its always disappointing to see how much litter we get, we hope all the visitors enjoy the valley as much as we do and want to keep it clean and tidy for everyone, please take your litter home. The warm weather has also brought out some less welcome visitors and as someone with dogs it’s the one thing we dread as they go crashing through the undergrowth … the dreaded Tick! Unfortunately for us and the dogs it’s been a very mild winter which means Ticks and Fleas have survived in large numbers and are very much awake. Whilst unpleasant for the dogs the real human threat is Lymes disease which is carried by Ticks, the symptoms of this are a bullseye like rash at the site of the bite, usually about a week after then fever, headache and feeling tired, if left untreated some paralysis can occur. Despite treatment some symptoms can last for 6 months and reoccurring swelling of joints can happen years later. Prevention is better than cure! So … long trousers when walking the hill (preferably the shiny light weight material as its difficult for the ticks to hold onto) gaiters to stop them heading up the inside of the trousers and some insect repellents will deter them. If you do find a tick and it has become attached DON’T pull it off, you will need a special tick removal tool which you can get online, the doctors or A&E reception as you don’t want to leave their mouth parts in your skin or risk the expelling of fluid into the site of the bite which can become infected. Keeping away from dense bracken, heather, and long grass also reduces the chances of encountering the no so delightful little critters. I also want to remind people that boating and kayaking on the reservoirs is not permitted, this is for health and safety reasons as we cannot supervise these activities and there are very real dangers in terms of hydropower pumps, valves and draw offs that operated without any warning on an automated system. The only water based activities permitted are provided by Elan Valley Leisure at the Lodge these can be booked and form part of the Events Guide over the summer, it’s a great way to experience the reservoirs safely. All in all we are really excited to be heading into summer and to welcome many more visitors to Elan Valley, the wildlife is now really starting to get into gear with the lizards venturing out, our summer visitors of Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers busy nest building, lambs everywhere (please take care they do like to have a nap in the most inconvenient places such as the middle of the road), and of course the trees and plants budding into life, there’s a lot more green in the valley! Next time I will be introducing you to the fantastic team here at the Visitor Centre and out on site that keep this place going and give it their all 364 days a year. From the Café to Rangers and Volunteers!