The Beginning of the Quest.

I don’t know when the idea first came to me, but it seemed like a good one…

The Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus), from here on referred to as GYB, is probably the rarest bumblebee found in Britain. Records from the last hundred years show it’s distribution throughout the UK drastically reducing due to loss of wildflower rich habitat; the result of intensive farming and land use. In the UK, this bee is now found only on the very North coast of Scotland and a few of the outlying islands where traditional crofting practices allow the machair landscape that the GYB needs, to remain. At some point this year I decided that I’d make it my summertime mission to see the GYB and managed to get three weeks off work for a long road trip around the North coast of Scotland.

The week before I was due to leave, I attended the first ‘Bee Summit’ at The University of Derby. There were a lot of speakers throughout the day, ranging from the environment and facilities manager at Toyota UK, to the CEO of Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), to a local farmer and landowner. It really was extraordinary to have a room full of bee enthusiasts from so many differing backgrounds. A particular highlight of the day was a rendition of a honeybee waggle dance performed by a group of local primary school children! I got talking to a wonderful lady called Ida who was recently appointed Education Officer for BBCT. I’m sure we will meet again as she invited me to share my ideas and be involved in developing education resources for 11+yr as part of the Pollinating the Peak project 🙂 Ida told me that she was also a lone traveler and seemed quite excited to hear about my planned trip to Scotland in search of the GYB. She very kindly put me in touch with the BBCT Scotland Conservation Officer, Katy who then emailed me with a map of the best sites to see GYB and, even better, agreed to meet me while I’m up in Caithness. And so my journey began…

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Marking GYB sites on this very convenient NC500 map.

If you’re interested, please read more about GYB here (BWARS) and here (BBCT).

In case you were wondering, #30DaysWild blogging is still a work in progress (very slightly *cough* behind schedule) but I’ll finish off my posts (they’re all planned out!) when I return from this trip…

All images subject to copyright. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the view of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for whom I volunteer, or any other organisation.

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