Volunteer Alan – From Loch to Island

My name is Alan Ried. I’m a volunteer with the RSPB at Vane Farm and at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve with the boys from SNH.


I started volunteering with the RSPB with my nephew Lewis about 3 years ago and SNH asked if would like to help on the loch. I have been retired for a few years after being a train driver and enjoy the varied tasks I do with SNH.

Jeremy required some cover out on the island as he was there on the weekend. I was delighted to come out. I was lucky enough to help Jeremy last year, even getting stranded and having to stay an extra day!


I caught the RIB out with Colin Murray and some builders. Jeremy straight away allocated me tasks to do. He’d even written a list of them  on the board. I got on with painting, cleaning, keeping the fire going and spoke to the visitors that were brave enough to come out at the weekend.

On Saturday morning we woke early and after my porridge we went for a walk around the island. There were plenty puffins aboot and the cliffs were full of birds. I know my ducks a bit from working in the cafe and looking through the telescopes at the RSPB but seabirds were a new experience for me. I enjoyed the walk, guided expertly by Jeremy. I took lots of photos.


On Sunday at low tide Jeremy took me to see the caves underneath the Angel. He said it was possible as the birds were not breeding yet in the area. It was fantastic to see behind the scenes of the island.

On the Monday there was big influx of people so I jumped on the RIB home. We were delayed by the weather but we got back mid afternoon. It was a choppy wet crossing but I enjoyed it and my SNH issue waterproofs kept me dry.

I will no doubt be back out on the island this season and thoroughly look forward to my next visit if not for the island but for Jeremy’s braw cooking!

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