The staff at Fife Coast and Countryside Trust have had quite an eventful year in 2012.
From rare whale sightings to a mini master of disguise, their wealth of experiences highlight just why Fife has been named as Scotland’s most popular outdoor tourism destination for the last six years.
Here, some of those working at the trust share their favourite moments from the last 12 months.
Ranald Strachan, a countryside ranger, said: “I was amazed to see a sei whale just 200 metres off St Andrews’ East Sands.” These kinds of whales are very rarely seen in UK waters.
Deirdre Munro, also a countryside ranger, shared her fondest memory from 2012. “One incident that really sticks in my mind was an early-July rockpooling session with a group of children at Kingsbarns.
“We discovered a large number of strange, black creatures, moving among brightly coloured strands of what looked like pink spaghetti!
“The spaghetti turned out to be eggs, and the slow-moving animals which produced them were sea hares – marine molluscs which have their shells on the inside of their body, giving them a characteristic humpbacked appearance.”
After a particularly bad bout of weather in autumn, the nature trail in Dunfermline’s Townhill Woods, created with help from nearby business Sky, was badly damaged.
Lyn Strachan, countryside ranger, paid tribute to those who came out to help clear it. “Thankfully Sky, Townhill Community Council and several volunteers rallied to help us with the hard work of clearing the storm debris and opening it up again.
“There was a superb turn-out of volunteers and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”
For Sophie Eastwood, red squirrel project officer, the Red Squirrel Fun Day at Tentsmuir Forest in August really stands out.
She said: “While everyone had lots of fun, it really helped to raise awareness about these lovely, but threatened, native mammals.”