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WATCH: TV presenter Gordon Buchanan opens this year's Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend

By Gavin Musgrove

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Cairngorms National Park Authority chief executive Grant Moir (second right) in discussion with Gordon Buchanan (far left).
Cairngorms National Park Authority chief executive Grant Moir (second right) in discussion with Gordon Buchanan (far left).

The Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend is now up and running with scores of different activities on offer in the national park today and over the weekend.

Organisers have said that there is something for everyone at the celebration –the first to be held in-person since 2019 because of the Covid restrictions.

The BIG Weekend opened last night in Boat of Garten with TV wildlife presenter and cameraman Gordon Buchanan hosting a talk on the issues facing the Cairngorms National Park.

A CNPA spokesman said: "We had more than 75 people in attendance for what was a wide-ranging discussion on all aspects of landscapes and livelihoods.

"Topics included how conservation and traditional land management practice can find common ground; what role community ownership could play in the future of the national park; how essential affordable housing will be in underpinning our efforts; and the importance of jobs and skills training for young people.

"Gordon shared a few stories from his travels around the world, as well as case studies from work he’s been involved in in rural Africa around community empowerment in conservation efforts."

Another highlight this evening will be The Forest Village Dance: Concert, Ceilidh & Cocktails from 7pm-10pm at Nethy Bridge Hall.

Grantown traditional musician Hamish Napier will be presenting his award-winning album “The Woods”, music inspired by the flora and fauna of Scotland's native forests.

The music will be accompanied by a cocktail or mocktail tasting flight featuring the remarkable wild flavours of Scotland’s forests brought by flavour innovators Highland Boundary followed by a ceilidh.

Promising to be a quieter evening will be Dark skies, the moon and wilidlife of the night.

The Cairngorms Astronomy Group will be giving a brief introduction this evening to the Dark Skies and what can be seen from Glenlivet Estate, and there will also be talk about the importance of night-time for wildlife.

This will be followed by a short walk to look at the moon through binoculars while learning all about it and then checking out bat detectors to see if some of the local flying mammals can be traced.

Teams from UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Dundee University will be hosting an event in Kincraig Community Hall on Sunday from 9am to 5pm.

The teams have been collecting environmental data from the Allt a’Mharcaidh catchment – just behind the village – and Glen Feshie. The aim is to understand change and the fundamental processes influencing the landscape and the management issues which result.

The event is designed for all age groups with quizzes and interactive games for the children and an opportunity for everyone to help shape the next five-year research plan for the park.

More details on the event can be found here.

To check out the full programme of events click here

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