walkhighlands



Nature

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

Carrifran “Survivor Tree” up for European Tree of the Year

As you walk through Carrifran Wildwood, you are surrounded by young native trees. In the mid 90s, a group of friends in the Scottish Borders thought “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could restore a whole bare valley to native woodland?”. That dream has become a reality and the Borders Forest Trust have planted nearly 2 million trees across the borders – many by volunteers. The first trees were planted at Carrifran Wildwood on millennium day. When money was being raised to buy the land – crowd funding in its earliest form, the leaflet used had a photo of a

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Posted in Magazine, Nature, News

Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book Vote 2020

Walkhighlands “Scottish Island Bagging” guidebook has made the shortlist of the Scottish Nature Photography Awards. A celebration of nature, wildlife and landscape photography in Scotland, the awards include one presented every two years that recognises the merits of photographic books and asks members of the public to choose their favourites. The sixth biennial Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book Vote is open at https://scottishnaturephotographyawards.com/bookvote, where you can see the shortlist and register your own vote. Courtesy of the publishers, everyone who takes part in the online vote will be entered into a free prize draw for one lucky individual to win the entire shortlist of books. The eleven books shortlisted for the 2020 Award highlight

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Posted in Magazine, Nature, News, Photography, Walkhighlands news

Following Footprints

Ben Dolphin gains a glimpse into hidden lives through studying the trails and tracks left in the snow. I spend a disproportionately huge amount of time staring out the kitchen window. Partly because, like everyone else, I’m spending a lot of time at home just now and I can’t help myself. And partly because there’s always the chance that something of interest will come ambling through the garden while I’m watching. But in recent weeks I’ve seen very little. The snow and cold have driven migratory species off the hill, snooze-prone species into slumber, and the remainder into networks of

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Consultation begins on return of lynx to Scotland

An extensive and impartial study to assess people’s views about the possible reintroduction of Eurasian lynx to the Scottish Highlands is being launched this month by a new partnership of the charities SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Trees for Life and Vincent Wildlife Trust. Ecological research has shown that extensive areas of Scotland could support lynx, but the charities say returning the shy and elusive animal is less about science and more about people’s willingness to live alongside a species that’s become forgotten on these shores. The year-long Lynx to Scotland consultation will impartially and accurately assess public and stakeholder attitudes around the idea of lynx reintroduction, including in rural

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Posted in Magazine, Nature, News


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