The team at Ayrshire Rivers Trust is packing up their office in Auchincruive and heading to Mauchline.

The charity, which cares for Ayrshire’s freshwater environments, is leaving their South Ayrshire site after being told that the owners have plans for the lodge in which they are based.

Despite the difficulties in finding a new spot owing to coronavirus, Stuart Brabbs from the ART says that they have managed to secure a site that “fits our needs.”

The new spot is in Mauchline and full details about the location and contact details will be revealed in due course. Stuart did confirm that members of the public will not be able to walk straight in and that bookings will be necessary for anybody wishing to visit.

The charity are packing up this week and hope to have completed the move by the weekend.

It’s been a tough time for ART as of late, with less funding coming in as a result of funds being channelled elsewhere because of the pandemic.

Stuart said: “It’s been a very difficult year all in all. At one point we weren’t sure that we would survive, but now I’m pretty hopeful that we will.”

ART’s main concern at the moment is dealing with the escape of farmed salmon, which occurred in the Firth of Clyde during storms last month.

This led to thousands of fish making their way into Ayrshire rivers and intermingling with native species of salmon. The farmed fish are identifiable by their scales, deformed or shortened fins, gill covers and snouts.

Stuart said: “We’re fantastically busy dealing with the fish farm escape. The vast majority of anglers that have pulled suspected farmed salmon out of the water have been correct.

“The danger is that they stay out another year at which point they will have recovered. They will cause havoc with the genetic makeup of our wild salmon.”