Jan Dunlop – Countryside Ranger Manager
Right from the earliest age we spent our time , out with my father or with the men on the estate whether is be cattlemen, shepherds or gamekeepers. If we were not out with them we were entertaining ourselves exploring our surroundings with little, but meals and bedtime to limit us.
With my father retiring and the estate being sold, life on the Estate changed and I also decided it was time to move on. Having a Geography Degree, Post Graduate Cartography Diploma and a Teacher Training Diploma, the outdoors still pulled on me no matter where I was working and I was always keen to head out of doors. In the summer of 1993 I headed to Mull to work on a fish farm at Ulva Ferry as a summer job, filling in between primary school teaching jobs.
As Mull goes, it hooked me. I found various jobs to do around the island and in 1997 I went back to study a HND in Countryside Management at SAC Auchincruive. Upon finishing my training a Ranger Post came up on Mull and Iona. I was lucky enough to be accepted for the post and am still here 12 years later.
The joys of the job are that Mull and Iona have such a diverse natural beauty and resource that I could not help but be hooked by it. Being surrounded by water and my job encompassing everything within that water divide is very special. Working for and with the Community, to help fulfil their needs and desires gives me great satisfaction and it is very rewarding to know I have their support. The wide variety of the job means there is never time to get bored and always a new project to get up and running or new challenges and issues to solve. The team I work with are also very supportive.
Emily Wilkins – Ranger for the Ross of Mull, Staffa, Burg and Iona
Hello I’m the Ranger for the Ross of Mull and Iona, based in Bunessan at the Ross of Mull Historical Centre. I work for the Community Trust but also spend half my time looking after the National Trust for Scotland properties of Burg, Iona and Staffa.
I’m no stranger to Mull and Iona, having spent the previous 3 years living and working for the Iona Community at their outdoor centre down at Camas, taking visiting young people on camping trips and walks in the local area. Prior to this I worked two seasons for the National Trust for Scotland with the Ben Lomond Ranger Service; led children’s environmental activities at Kilmartin House Museum in Mid Argyll; and I’ve also spent a couple of years working full time with schools on the education team of a rural nature reserve and demonstration farm.
I’m pretty much doing the same as Jan but focused down this end of the Island. So that’s school visits and children’s wildlife clubs, guided walks and events, wildlife monitoring, access and environmental projects. Thank you to everyone who already helps out with events, ideas, children’s clubs, reporting and trapping mink, and other practical tasks. If you have any issues, projects or ideas you’d like a hand with or if you would like to get involved in volunteering I’d love to hear from you.
Cian Burke-Brown – Seasonal Ranger
Hello, I’m the seasonal ranger for 2018. I spend most of my time leading the Mull Eagle Watch tours of white-tailed eagles but I get to plan and deliver community events such as guided walks and school visits one day a week.
Having always been a nature enthusiast, I decided to study wildlife conservation at University. I helped run the wildlife society which took me on trips to Iceland and up Mount Snowdon dressed as a goat to raise money for our local community-run nature reserve. During my time in the society, I developed a keen interest in birds but my first passions were herpetology (reptiles and amphibians) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) – an all-round animal-lover!
I went on to work as a tour guide for SeaFari on Easdale Island, Argyll, for a season where I was wowed by my first eagles and got a taste of island life – a far cry from life in my hometown of London. I loved enthusing others about wildlife which led me on to work for the RSPB in the Yorkshire Dales where I showed peregrine falcons to visitors at Malham Cove. I then worked as a fundraiser for the Charity in the north of England before moving to work at RSPB Arne in Dorset as an Information Assistant in 2017.
Like Jan, the pull of Mull was too strong and I’m fortunate to have been able to return to this beautiful part of Scotland! I’m hoping to pick up my wildlife photography again whilst I’m here too.
Tikka – Assistant Ranger
I am still a trainee ranger after 7 years but expectations and standards in the Ranger Service are high. I am competent in litter picking, footpath inspection, site security, pointing at wildlife and paper shredding.