A Perth ecologist has been awarded funding to embark on a two-year adventure travelling around the wilderness of Scotland documenting rare plants.
Leah Farquharson, 30, will be trekking, kayaking, cycling and climbing her way around the country’s most rural locations – photographing and filming her findings which will be edited into an educational documentary series.
The ecologist and conservationist, who will be joined on her expedition by her dog Blue, received an Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant for the trip from the John Muir Trust.
Leah said: “The project will be divided into several mini expeditions over a two-year period.
“Primarily this is due to current travel restrictions from Covid-19 however, I would also like to add a seasonal element to the docu-series, documenting compositional and structural changes of the vegetation in different habitat types throughout the year.
“I plan to visit multiple sites throughout Scotland over a two-year period trekking, kayaking, cycling and climbing to reach wild and remote locations.
“Travel will be kept as low carbon as possible, using trains and buses when possible to move across the country.”
The docu-series, which has also been supported by The Wildflower Society, will highlight interesting and rare plant species in Scotland as well as more common plants and their use in historical and current practices.
Leah will begin her adventure close to home in Perthshire, but will then travel further afield to the Cairngorms and Grampian Mountains before heading for the islands.
She said: “I love adventure science and learning more about the natural world through exploration.
“I have travelled to various remote regions and undertaken research in challenging conditions.
“Botany and the ecological, medicinal and indigenous role of plants is my chosen specialism, and I am interested in how this local ecological knowledge can guide effective conservation strategies.”
This year, the ecologist will also be leading an expedition with youth development charity the British Exploring Society.
Leah is one of six successful applicants to the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant which was established to give people the opportunity to seek out life-changing experiences in wild places in ways which will benefit both the person, and the wild places themselves.
Rosie Simpson, of the John Muir Trust, said: “We have wanted to support adventures closer to home this year and Leah’s project, with an itinerary that takes her around Scotland to document lesser-known native plants, demonstrates adventures can support wild places without travelling to far flung places.”