walkhighlands



Nature

The thunderstorm, the flood and the landslide

Generally speaking, we in Scotland live in a quiet corner of the world. Our volcanoes are long extinct and there’s not been a major landscaping event since the glacial ice retreated. Sure, the earth shakes from time to time, and the turbulent atmosphere occasionally rattles our homes, but for the most part we live on pretty solid ground. We can therefore be forgiven for looking at our landscapes with a comforting sense of permanence. This is how it has always been, and this is how it will always be. Scotland is timeless. Scotland is forever. It’s an illusion of course,

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Munro Mountain Moths

Scotland’s mountains are famed for their wonderful landscapes and iconic wildlife. However, to many this conjures up thoughts of majestic Golden Eagles, approachable Ptarmigan or bounding Mountain Hares. However, Scotland’s mountains are also home to many species of scarce and specialised moths that have adapted to live in this hostile environment. Most of these are very under-recorded as few lepidopterists regularly venture onto the high tops, whist many hillwalkers are mostly oblivious to their presence, soaking in the wonderful panoramas unaware of fluttering or crawling moths around their boots. Remarkably several of these species are day-flying, for instance, the very

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

I finally bought my own trail camera!

I’m a bit excited when I check my new trail camera for the first time. It’s that same feeling I remember so vividly from Christmas Day in the 1980s – when you finally got to see just how amazing that new toy you’d been craving from the Argos catalogue for the past year actually was. What hidden garden wonders will be revealed? What new creatures will be discovered? Oh the anticipation! I walk up to it, open the housing, and the display inside reads 4/455. YES! Four new files have been created. Four 20-second snippets of an animal moving in

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature, Photography

Chain of rewilding ‘stepping stones’ to tackle Scotland’s nature and climate crises

A chain of nature-rich hotspots bringing together a diverse group of estates, farms, crofts and community-owned land is to be created across Scotland with a new rewilding network launched by charity SCOTLAND: The Big Picture. The Northwoods Rewilding Network will allow more of Scotland’s many smaller landholdings of 50 to 1,000 acres to play a bigger role in restoring and connecting rich habitats full of life to boost declining species, tackle climate breakdown, and create new opportunities for rural communities.  Northwoods will complement Scotland’s major landscape-scale rewilding sites by filling in the gaps in local areas and joining together a tapestry of smaller nature recovery

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Posted in Magazine, Nature, News

Wild Winter

This week sees the publication of Wild Winter, the latest book from John Burns, bestselling author of The Last Hillwalker. In Wild Winter, John sets out to rediscover Scotland’s mountains, remote places and wildlife in the darkest and stormiest months. He traverses the country from the mouth of the River Ness to the Isle of Mull, from remote Sutherland to the Cairngorms, in search of rutting red deer, minke whales, beavers, pine martens, mountain hares and otters. In the midst of the fierce weather, John’s travels reveal a habitat in crisis, and many of these wild creatures prove elusive as they

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

More investment in nature reserves and rangers

Funding of £750,000 is being invested in NatureScot’s National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in preparation for visitors this summer. Up to 20 additional rangers and other staff are also being recruited to welcome people back and help them to respect, protect and enjoy our great outdoors. This is in additional to the new rangers already announced by both the Cairngorms National Park and Highland Council. More than a million people are estimated to have visited one of the nature agency’s 29 National Nature Reserves in 2020, a record number that is expected to increase this year. With coronavirus restrictions set to be eased

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Posted in Access issues, Nature, News

Walkhighlands plans major responsible access campaign

We’re planning to run a responsible access campaign across Walkhighlands during this summer. When mainland travel restrictions are lifted on 26th April, we’ll be replacing the Covid messaging (currently “Stay at Home”) across the website to a call of “Let’s Keep Scotland’s Outdoors Special”. The messaging will run across the top of everyone of the 2,100+ free walks on the website, which has also removed all automated advertising. Last summer, we saw more than a million walks being downloaded from Walkhighlands in a single month. All walks will now include the new messaging. The campaign aims to reinforce Scotland’s Outdoor

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Posted in Access issues, Magazine, Nature, News, Walkhighlands news

Regeneration: the Mar Lodge Estate

Andrew Painting is a seasonal ecologist at Mar Lodge Estate, the UK’s largest nature reserve in the Cairngorms. His new book, Regeneration: The Rescue of a Wild Land takes a species-by-species look at this landscape through time, focusing on recent conservation efforts that are beginning to pay off. Here he describes a walk around Clais Fhearnaig to show how that story is written onto the landscape. The headlines of the unfolding environmental recovery of Mar Lodge Estate are startling. 30,000-odd hectares of land, holding 15 Munros. Over 5,000 species, with more recorded every year. Ancient tracts of Caledonian pinewood, with

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

A Dog’s Life

What does it mean to be a responsible dog owner in the hills with an enthusiastic young dog? Wildlife Guide Lucy Wallace is finding out. Meet Nuis… a yearling border collie with a big heart. He is officially a Good Boy, but there are two things that he finds really tricky: walking nicely on the lead (more on that shortly), and not chasing stuff. Nuis will chase everything. This includes (but is not limited to) bikes, balls, deer, other dogs, cars, leaves, cats, squirrels, birds, people and I’m sure if he could get the chance, sheep. He’s fun loving, impulsive,

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Posted in Access issues, Features, Magazine, Nature

Plea for dog owners to take the lead and be responsible

Several Scottish organisations have united in an urgent plea to dog owners across the country to keep their dogs under proper control around livestock. Lambing season is already well underway in Scotland, and most of the ewes we see now grazing the hills and fields are heavily pregnant at this time of year. Already farmers are reporting worrying attacks on their sheep by dogs, often because dog walkers have not kept their pets under control. Many attacks also involve unaccompanied dogs which have been allowed to stray. Some reports include horrible physical injuries to sheep. However, a dog doesn’t need

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Posted in Magazine, Nature, News


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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.