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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Post mortem for stranded Mull humpback whale

Scotland's first full post mortem of a humpback whale, found dead at Fishnish on the Isle of Mull this week, has been carried out by veterinary pathologists with the assistance of conservation charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. The seven-metre, eight-ton animal, believed to be the first humpback whale ever to strand on Mull, was discovered floating close to shore on Wednesday 25 June, and was craned out of the sea the following evening. The male calf had not recently been feeding and was probably still dependent on its mother. Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s Science and Strandings Officer Dr

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Posted in Nature

Wild Land – A Historic Breakthrough

THIS recognition of Scotland’s wild land as a nationally important asset that needs to be safeguarded marks a historic breakthrough. Scotland’s landscapes are spectacular, contributing to our quality of life, our national identity and the visitor economy. The John Muir Trust has fought long and hard over many years with the support of many thousands of people to achieve official recognition for wild land and we welcome this commitment. I would endorse these sentiments, made by Stuart Brooks of the John Muir Trust in response to the Scottish Government’s recent announcement of further protection for Scotland’s wild land. Other NGO’s

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Conservation bodies welcome protection for wild land

A new map of the Wild Land Areas of Scotland was published today by Scottish Natural Heritage and will be used by the Scottish Government as part of its newly published national planning policy. The map covers 19 per cent of Scotland’s land area. The recognition of the importance of wild land is underpinned by both the new National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy documents. The National Planning Framework 3 states ‘We also want to continue our strong protection for our wildest landscapes – wild land is a nationally important asset.’ The Scottish Planning Policy document states: ‘Wild land

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Posted in Nature, News

Boreas Gear Buttermilks 40 rucksack

Ultralight rucksacks are often little more than a cylinder with straps, based on the assumption that an ultralight load doesn’t require a complicated back system. Boreas Gear are newcomers to the UK, with packs that manage to be minimalist, aesthetically-pleasing and lightweight yet concealing some surprising features. Boreas Gear Buttermilks 40 rucksack Price: £140 Weight: 1293g as supplied, strippable to 886g looks, load-transfer, big front pocket weight could be lower Features For a minimalist pack you’d expect this to be a short section, but the pack’s clean lines conceal some clever stuff. The star performer is the back system –

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Posted in Gear reviews, Rucksacks

Free bird identification days planned for July and August

Do you spend time on Scotland’s high mountains? Are you interested in the birds that you see and hear while you are up there? The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is offering free training to hillwalkers and climbers in July and August, to help improve knowledge and enjoyment of upland birds and hopefully increase the number of people recording their sightings to the BTO. During the day you will improve your identification skills and learn more about the upland birds that live on our mountains. You will also learn more about how your sightings can help contribute to conservation science.

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Posted in Nature

Small encounters, distant thunder

We’d been slogging away for hours, post holing through breakable crust down from the Cairngorm plateau, face into a wind that was gale force something or other. The crisp white covering and cobalt skies of the previous afternoon were long gone, to be replaced by cloud to our knees and a frigid wet blast forced through every gap in our clothing. We covered barely a kilometre an hour, there was no let up. But after a good half day of trudging, deep in the private space of the glen, a fox leapt out from hiding in a heathery crag, bushy

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Report reveals 14 beavers born in wild at trial site

The latest report looking at the trial reintroduction of beavers at Knapdale in Argyll has revealed that by 2013 fourteeen beavers had been born in the wild as a result of the trial. The report sets out findings from the fourth year of ecological monitoring, up to spring 2013, in the five-year Scottish Beaver Trial (SBT). The monitoring phase of the trial concluded at the end of May 2014 and the final report, which will help Scottish Government decide on the longer term future of beavers in Scotland, is due to be published in December 2014. That report will also

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Posted in Nature

Outer Hebrides walkers' help needed on path survey

As the number of people visiting and walking in the Outer Hebrides increases each year, walkers there are being asked to help record the state of the local footpaths. The WISE (Western Isles Support for the Environment) Volunteering Project aims to improve and maintain local footpaths and this summer is asking visitors to help it out by completing a survey to build up a picture of the condition of footpaths and their use. WISE says that the surveys are simple and ask for comments on sign posting, drainage, stiles and the general condition under foot. The surveys will be distributed

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Posted in Access issues

New bird's eye view of Mull sea eagles

People from all over the world will now be able to see live footage of Mull's white-tailed sea eagles through a new satellite technology viewing project. Thought to be a UK first, the innovative project aims to complement the already successful ranger-led visits to see Mull’s majestic sea eagles. The new satellite link will follow Cuin and Sula, the two famous sea eagles currently starring in the 10th series of the BBC’s popular Springwatch. The live footage can been seen on Forestry Commission Scotland website. Fiona Murray, Forestry Commission Scotland’s tourism development manager said: “White-tailed eagles are sometimes known as

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Posted in News

Mountain Bird Survey: Can you help?

The mountains of Scotland are home to some iconic bird species. Seeing a Golden Eagle flying above a mountain ridge or spotting the striking Dotterel on a high plateau can add a little extra something to your day in the hills. But what if our birds started to disappear, and nobody noticed?The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) wants to improve monitoring and is asking for help from hillwalkers, climbers and other outdoor folk. They need volunteers to help out with their new Mountain Bird Survey. Perhaps you could help? Taking part in the survey is a great way to add another

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Posted in Nature


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