News at Lough Dan

Lough Dan won the best environmental education award as part of the Wicklow Pure Mile project. We have opened up an Eco-Base based around Charles Darwin’s cabin on board HMS Beagle where you can make bird and bat boxes to hang up on the site or take home. And do a whole range of environmental awareness activities. The cabin also serves as a bird hide overlooking an array of bird feeders.

Brilliant news a second badger set has been discovered on the site while we were putting up the Cat’s Eye Night Hike route. It is in a nice secluded place surrounded by gorse so unlikely to get disturbed. This and the occasional sighting of the Gooseander Ducks on the lake is good news for all lovers of the wildlife.

The FAB zone was officially opened so now you have several places to stop, sit and ponder on the meaning of life.

We have established Lough Dan as Dark Sky Reserve. All unnecessary outdoor lighting has been removed so that you can see the stars just like your forebears did. But do bring your head torches so you can still pitch the tents in the dark unlike your forebears who bumped into everything.

As Part of the Wicklow 2016 project all the scout groups from the county Wicklow and some from further afield planted over 500 trees to commemorate the role played by the Barton and Childers families in the fight for Irish freedom. We will be doing more planting as part of the annual national tree week which is the first weekend in March each year. Next March we hope to concentrate on an area of bluebells and create a woodland walk.

The Outdoor Adventure Store/Scout Shop is opened a small outlet store on the site. It will sell a range of souvenirs, camping accessories and confectionary.

Vikings the movie has been filming at Lough Dan so we have decided to give the BARN our wet weather shelter a make over and are turning it into a “Viking Long House”. We have added a small log cabin for use by volunteers as a woodland and forestry hut.

Following on from our user feedback survey we have refurbished and rejigged of the toilet/shower block. The main feature is separate access to the gents showers and toilets and we have installed separate leader toilet and shower facilities. The girls WC/Shower area will be retiled this winter. Keep your comments and suggestions coming as although we are a volunteer team operating on a not for profit basis we try to run the centre to the highest possible standards.

We have set up a small “wild” Campsite suitable for a patrol up the hill at the very edge of the site. Great views of the lake and surrounding area. A nice place if you want to get away from it all. We have also met with the National Parks wildlife ranger and agreed on some areas in the park where wild-camping is permitted.