Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend with an event open to all.
The reserve, declared in 1986, encompasses almost 4000 hectares of upland, moorland and woodland including the eponymous mountain, a great favourite with hillwalkers and winter climbers and home to some of the largest (and most vegetated) cliffs in Scotland. Since the mid 80s the main management aim has been to restore the remnants of native birch woodland on the site. The Nature Conservancy Council and then Scottish Natural Heritage set out to achieve this by reducing deer numbers rather than through the use of fencing.
Rory Richardson, the reserve manager, stressed:
'As Creag Meagaidh reaches 25 years old it is satisfying to look back on what has been achieved since it became an NNR, thanks to the hard work of NCC and SNH staff, past and present. As the woodland returns we are seeing other wildlife, such as black grouse, returning to their old haunts.'
Another reason for SNH to celebrate the anniversary is the completion of new all-abilities paths and a car park upgrade on the reserve. The paths were built by local contractor Duncan Grant and are set to be formally opened on Sunday by Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
The event will run between 12pm and 5pm and will feature a range of activities, including venison recipes and tasting, laser stalking, bushcraft, bird-box making and bird ringing demonstrations. There will also be the chance to try out the new trails on something called a 'health walk.'