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Whitelee windfarm

Whitelee latest news

All the latest news, wildlife sightings and event reports from Whitelee Windfarm and the surrounding area.

Woman on a wheeled sled pulled by two huskies

WCRS Event Guide

Our 2019 events programme is available now. Printed copies can be found at the Whitelee Visitor Centre, local libraries and in the leaflet dispensers at the site gate.

Event table Free Whitelee Ranger Service Events

Art Attack

  • Sunday 3 - Tuesday 5 November
  • 5pm - midnight
  • Drop-in event
  • Whitelee visitor centre

Escape the fireworks with the dog and head to Whitelee for our huge firework-free nights! Visitor centre re-opens 5 - 10pm (cafĂ© closes 9pm). Ranger led walk from 7pm. *Bring a torch.

Fireworks are not permitted at Whitelee windfarm as they disrupt livestock, wildlife and visitors and can cause peatbog and wildfires that can damage the sites ecology and windfarm infrastructure. Anyone seeing fireworks being set off in the windfarm - please do not approach the persons responsible but report it to the East Renfrewshire Community Wardens (if at the visitor centre area) or the South Lanarkshire Community Wardens (if at the Ardochrig entrance), or Police Scotland.

Whitelee Countryside Ranger Service is now a Makaton Friendly service!


We are pleased to say that Whitelee Countryside Ranger Service is now a Makaton Friendly service!

Makaton is a language programme that can be used by children and adults to help them to communicate by using signs and symbols. It is designed to support spoken language and helps speech, language and communication skills. We are hoping that becoming Makaton Friendly will make the site more user friendly for any users of Makaton.

We held our first Makaton event at the start of May where families explored the windfarm in two different treasure-hunt style trail. Over 100 people of all ages and abilities took part and all had great fun looking for the hidden symbols on site in the sunshine. Each group was given a map to find the hidden animals and solve the riddle to know what animal to look for next. It was great to see the Makaton users interact with the Rangers signing to them saying they had fun doing the hunt.

All groups managed to break the code to unlock the treasure chest at the end of the hunt. We are hoping to have more Makaton events at Whitelee and Makaton can now be used with schools and groups when requested. For more information on how we can use Makaton with groups please get in touch.

144th Glasgow Scouts - Orienteering Challenge


In April, the 144th Glasgow Scout Group took on our intermediate orienteering challenge at Whitelee. First, one of the rangers went to their scout hall for a session introducing the group to map reading skills and orienteering using a variety of materials including a presentation and several Ordnance Survey maps for map reading exercises. A couple of weeks later, the scouts came to Whitelee to take on their challenge. After a quick refresher session and map orientation check, the groups were sent on their way, with leaders in tow to supervise as they navigated their way around the orienteering course to collect the codes on the control posts. The groups enjoyed the freedom of exploring the course, both on and off-track, and after a couple of hours, were all safely back at the finishing point with correct codes and decent times under their belts, before tucking into snacks and juice.

The group enjoyed their experience so much, they have requested a return visit to give our advanced long course a try later in the year. We look forward to seeing them then.

Amphibian Amore


As the sun was setting, we gathered with a group of keen explorers to go in search of our elusive pond-dwelling creatures. And elusive was to be the key word for this evening walk, as we checked many ponds along the route. We did come across some small clumps of frog spawn, and found a couple of solitary tadpoles, but we were beginning to lose all hope of an exciting discovery, until one of the Rangers saved the evening right at the end by finding a male palmate newt Lissotriton helveticus. The group were thrilled as the newt was passed around for closer inspection before being carefully put back in his pond. After this, it was torches on, and a good walk and natter back to the car park to finish the evening under a clear sky. We suspect our disappointing results were due to a mixture of prolonged dry weather and frosty nights, coupled with nature's timing this year.

A Walk In The Woods


A small group of explorers headed through the Whitelee II extension area on Saturday the 23rd with 2 of the rangers for Whitelee - 1 from WCRS but the other from our partners at Forestry Commission Scotland. The walk was to enjoy this area of the windfarm but also to talk about and look at some of the history in the area and primarily the forestry. The route took in Craigendunton reservoir, Croilburn Farm where foresters had been based in the past and the WW2 Hurricane crash site, before returning to the start - covering roughly 13km in chilly but sunny weather. For looking at the history of Whitelee forest and forestry development in Scotland the route was absolutely perfect as it had examples of forest practices from the beginning of planting in the 1960's; clear felling, management techniques and modern methods. All in all it was a great walk with lots of questions on everything from trees and forestry to local history and wildlife.

Event Guide Out


Printed copies of our new 2019 events guide have arrived and will be delivered to central libraries in East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire soon, to then be distributed around all their libraries so please look out for them arriving and pick up your copy.

St. Vincent's Primary Careers Fayre


One of the Whitelee rangers was invited along to the St. Vincent's Primary careers fayre in East Kilbride on Wednesday so talk to P3 to P7 about countryside rangering as a career. Armed with lots of leaflets about courses as well as Whitelee, along with lots of the tools and equipment a ranger uses in their job, and a few exhibits to grab the attention, it wasn't hard to engage with the pupils who were full of questions. If anything it was slightly unfair on the police, bankers and others there to sell their career paths because the display at the ranger table was creating a buzz. The main thing the pupils wanted to know was whether rangers enjoyed their job - to which they were told 'no - we love our jobs'! The pupils were taken with the variety of the work from technical to practical as well as the fun aspects such wildlife surveying and a lot of them went away enthused so we expect to potentially see some budding young rangers emerging from the school soon.

Big Bat & Bird Box Build


Saturday the 16th saw our first event of 2019, and boy was it packed! We were almost fully booked with families keen to build a nest box or bat box for National Nest Box Week. Running from 1 till 4pm the building was intense and due to the changeable weather we had opted to have the event in the hub inside the visitor centre, so the rat-a-tat of the hammers at work was well...loud! By the end of the day there were lots of happy children and delighted families heading home with their newly built boxes, along with advice sheets on putting them up, so hopefully the boxes will provide some valuable new habitat for our native birds and bats.

Muddy Monsters


Muddy Monsters is a new pre-school club being run by the Whitelee Countryside Rangers for children between 2 - 5 years old and their parents/guardians. The aim of the group is to get young children and their adults outside enjoying nature through games, songs, stories and play. This year saw the first sessions and they were a great success with lots of happy kids and parents taking part. The group meet the second Thursday each month from 1pm - 2pm at the Whitelee Visitor Centre and each session will cover a different theme.

Whitelee Monster Mash


A fun and frightening night was had by all who attended the annual Halloween event on Friday 26th. The rangers had concocted a mix of spooky games and activities alongside the visitor centre staff - with some of them being truly gruesome! The fearless also headed out on spooky walks into the windfarm and were suitably spooked and let out some almighty screams in the night as the rangers, aided by some sinister volunteers, provided some scares along the way. All the festivities, costumes and capers certainly would have warded off any would be ghosts or ghouls in the area!

Run The Blades - The Night One


Run The Blades was back at Whitelee on the 19th October, just at night this time! Around 230 runners took to the tracks, starting from turbine 40 and heading off towards the Spine Road and then onto the Lochgoin dam path before making the long trek back to the finish line, to complete the 10K route. Thankfully on the night the weather cleared after a miserable day and it was perfect for running.

As the runners came round onto the dam wall path they made a spectacular sight, forming a long snake of light winding its way over the path and further on into the windfarm - as each runner was led by their head-torch.

Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the run in the night and incredibly rather than slowing the competitors down, the front runner came in 3 minutes faster than this years 10K winner in the daylight! The winning time was an impressive 34 minutes 28 seconds.

With the number of happy finishers leaving site by 9.30pm it's almost certain that the event will run again in 2019.

Syrian Refugee Visit


Last Tuesday we had a visit from a group of Syrian refugee families to Whitelee, their first ever time at a windfarm. The previous week one of the rangers gave them a Powerpoint presentation about the site, its technology and wildlife and the visit was following on from this. The group were fascinated by the wind turbine technology and questions centred on whether it could be used in developing countries to provide affordable and sustainable energy.

Sadly the weather on the day of the visit to the windfarm was suitably awful for Whitelee in October but the group enjoyed a ranger led walk into site, followed by lunch and various activities for the children to do with their parents led by the visitor centre staff.

Run The Blades 2018


1025 trail runners hit the tracks at Whitelee in the 3rd year of 'run the blades'. Held over 2 days on July 20th and 21st this was yet again the biggest event the windfarm has accommodated, as well as the most extreme, and the event is now a firm favourite on the Scottish running calendar. Everything was bigger this year with more runners, more cars and a bigger event village, this year with hot food and drinks vans for spectators - and there were more of them too! The weather over the 2 days was mixed as always but on the whole, it was better than previous years.

The first race of the event was on the Friday evening and 640 runners took off from the start line at turbine 53, weaving their way along the windfarm tracks, out to cross the Lochgoin dam path before breaking for the finish line. The winner crossed the line in an amazing 37 minutes 25 seconds, 24 seconds faster than the 2017 winner. Saturday saw the half marathon and 50K runs taking place and after a long slog the first half marathon runner came in in 1 hour 18 minutes and 45 seconds. In the 50K race, the winner crossed the line in 3 hours 25 minutes and 53 seconds, taking an incredible 1 hour and 18 minutes off last years winners time.

The event was such a huge success, there will now also be a 'flashmob' (10K) night run this October that was booked out in just 3 days! The time for the 50K race continues to fall as the event attracts more runners...what will 2019 bring?

Boggy Beasties Fully Booked


Please note our Boggy Beasties sessions are now fully booked and we can only take additional bookings to be placed on our reserve list in the event of cancellations.

Spring Has Arrived...And So Have Our Summer Visitors


The past week has seen a slight increase in temperatures at the windfarm, bringing with it the start of Spring. Birds such as Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), Swallow (Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Delichon urbicum), Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) and Curlew (Numenius arquata) have all recently returned from their wintering grounds and been seen. The resident Ravens (Corvus corax) have been spotted displaying and carrying nesting materials and there's a real buzz around the place as bumblebees and butterflies have been recorded. Frogs, toads and newts were seen returning to their breeding ponds weeks ago and their eggs will now be fully developed or even hatching - which unfortunately for them will provide valuable protein for various predators. There will be lots more springtime activity going on through the site so it's time to get out and explore with the camera.

Eggstatic Easter


The weather was kind and the eggs got rolled on Easter Sunday with between 150 - 200 people coming along and taking part.

The rangers had a busy Easter Sunday with loads of families visiting the site and enjoying the weather but also taking part in the family-friendly Easter games - that got them a reward of a hard-boiled egg to decorate and later roll. The rangers had ~110 boiled eggs and by the end of the day only a couple were left, the rest coming to a shattered end on the track down to turbine 40. The remains of the eggs were not wasted however and the leftovers were placed on a bird feeding station next to the visitor centre - that was swiftly visited and rapidly cleared of eggs by the pair of Ravens (Corvus corax) that are routinely seen in the area.

There were lots of happy families and more importantly, happy children, pleased at their destructive efforts with their eggs - and even happier when the rangers traded them their leftovers for a chocolate egg!

Crafty Carving


Sunday didn't turn into the sunny day we expected that didn't matter to our group of crafty carvers as they whittled, planed and shaped wood into spoons, spatulas, butter knives and wands fit for a warlock or witch. Led by a local spoon carving wizard in the form of Craig Ramsay along with Whitelee's resident spoon carving ranger, the group got a run through of all the different tools, knives, techniques and cheats for carving with green wood before getting set loose on some pre-prepared blanks or templates. After about 5 minutes a pin could be heard hitting floor, such was the silence and concentration of everyone - the day was long, but only so that no-one felt rushed and it was expected that everyone would leave on completion of their freshly carved creation - but many stayed on to try something else, revelling in their new skills.

Lunch was cut short as everyone came back early, eager to get going again and after some initial chat, the silence of carving fell again. Thankfully there were no real injuries aside of the odd nick and the group were surprised at how quickly and easily they took to working with green wood. By the end of the day everyone left laden with spoons and other freshly crafted creations and a new batch of green wood workers have hopefully been encouraged.

First Signs of Spring


The first Colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara) of 2018 has been seen sprouting next to the ranger cabin at the windfarm. This the earliest we've found it, except for 2016, but unfortunately the plant has been tricked - because spring certainly is not here yet! If you're visiting and wondering what this plant looks like - its flowers appear first, before the leaves, which earned it the old name of 'sons before fathers'. The flower is a gorgeous eggy-yellow colour that stands out at this time of year. Check out our phenology page for details of other species that we record the appearance dates of.

Lochgoin Mini Array (Turbines 1 - 5 & 7)


Visitors to this area are requested to keep in mind that the entrance to the array where parking generally takes place, and the lay-by's in this area, are not within the windfarm and are private land. Vehicle access to this area is not included in normal access rights and the ability to park here is by landowner permission only.

Recent incidents of inconsiderate parking blocking access to the array and impinging on the use of the road to Lochgoin Farm could result in the loss of vehicle access to this area. Visitors are reminded that vehicle access is not included in rights afforded by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. If visiting this area and bringing a vehicle - please park sensibly and considerately and do not block access to gates, the array or anywhere else. If on arriving, the area is busy with cars - please consider going somewhere else or parking at the Whitelee visitor centre and walking over. Do not move or ignore access restrictions that can be in the form of road cones, fencing and signage.

Failure to park sensibly and considerately could result in the loss of vehicle access in this area. 

2018 Events Guide Out Now


Our 2018 events guide is out now and full of our usual mix of fun family events, guided walks, nature activities and crafts - and all free to take part in. You can download the guide and printed copies will be available from the Whitelee Visitor Centre and local libraries in East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire soon.

pdf icon Whitelee country ranger events guide 2019 [598kb]

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