Friday, 12 December 2014

Thursday: Scotland - Cairngorms National Park

Talk of weather bombs across Scotland does not deter the Heather Trust, but on arrival, Boat of Garten looked much like this.  However, I reached my objective of The Boat Hotel, in time for a good breakfast.

I passed the day profitably and I was ready for a meeting with the Board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, in the evening.  The Board is discussing a moorland paper tomorrow, and I had been invited, with others, to express my view of the issues.

The Board is considering a key issue of how to develop the management of the moorland area in the Park in the face of criticism about over-intensive grouse moor management, raptor persecution and bad muirburn practice.  It is a big task, as about 44% of the Park's area is under moorland management.  The Board recognises that the management of moorland fulfils an essential role, but part of the land use planning in the Park is to increase the area of woodland and montane scrub, and it is inevitable that this will put pressure on open moorland.

I expressed my opinion that the Park Authority must be prepared to lead the way in moorland management and suggested that the establishment of demonstration sites would provide an opportunity to show leadership.  I think that these sites would provide a platform for discussion that would be an effective way to introduce ideas to those who own and manage the land, with a view to gaining their support for the various initiatives within the Park.

One day I hope that my advocacy for demonstration sites will bear some fruit, as I think it is a very effective method to establish links, defuse lash points and influence management practices.

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