New wildlife observatory on Lewis

The Nature Observatory at Loch Stiapabhat Local Nature Reserve in Ness, Isle of Lewis officially opened last week.

Roy Dennis MBE was invited to speak at a short brunch event in Ness before those in attendance grabbed their boots, scopes and jackets and made their way to the loch for the opening of the new observatory. The event was opened by Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and guests heard a little about the project from Urras Manager Lisa Maclean, who explained that the project was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, LEADER, RSPB and the John Muir Trust and it was constructed by a local employment scheme run by the local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Ms Maclean commented “this project is the result of some excellent teamwork and we are thrilled to have been able to secure the funds to put this new observatory in place. The OH-MEET scheme who built the observatory and boardwalk deserve huge praise for their dedication through all weathers. The result is great and this observatory will no doubt last for years!”

Wildlife Observatory image 3
Roy Dennis, who formally opened the observatory is a well-known ornithologist and wildlife consultant has worked in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since 1959, most notably on the conservation of rare birds, ecological restoration and the reintroduction of lost species, such as White-tailed Eagle and Red Kite. He is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster and at the opening event he spoke very positively about the work that has been undertaken at Loch Stiapabhat.

Mr Dennis commented “I am very impressed with the new building; it’s very well constructed and perfect for people to enjoy the loch and its wildlife. I’m sure it will be used by locals and visitors as a great place to watch local birds, like nesting redshanks and lapwings, and the wonderful array of migratory birds which drop in at the loch. I had a couple visits and there’s no doubt I’ll be back. It’s a valuable addition for eco-tourism in Lewis.”

The observatory is a short distance from the Butt of Lewis route on Walkhighlands.

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