The Heart of the Shropshire Hills
Please note: you are viewing this page with less graphics because the web browser that you are using to view this page does not fully support CSS.
If you would like to view this and other web sites at their maximum potential, please consider upgrading your browser software.
If you are using a screenreader or other assistive technology, please ignore this message.
Nature & Wildlife
Nature and Wildlife in the Scottish Highlands
Mother Nature has blessed Scotland with an abundance of plant and wildlife and happily this area of the Scottish Highlands has its fair share. Speyside is unique in that it enjoys a huge variety of habitats from coast to mountaintop and boasts several excellent Nature Reserves along the way. Much of the high land of the Cairngorm plateau forms the Cairngorms National Nature Reserve including designated Natura 2000 and sites of special scientific interest. The overall mood is to protect and preserve, but also enjoy. Trees, flowers, plants, birds, animals, fish, rare insects, together with all the myriad small creatures all interacting to make this a wonderfully balanced and vibrant countryside.
The red grouse depends on heather for its shelter throughout the year and for its diet (either its shoots or the insects living on it), whilst the Osprey on Loch Garten enjoys a fish breakfast from nature’s larder! However, a great tourist attraction, it is good to see them breeding once again. A variety of small birds enjoy the seed heads on the thistles (the Scottish emblem) and the lochs, rivers and streams provide the necessary food for a diverse range of birds, fish and wildlife. The bees produce some of the finest flavoured Scottish Heather honey ever to be tasted.
Whether you like to wander alone or with a guide, there are many interesting and instructive ‘outings’ available. Ray Nowicki of Nethy Bridge is a Wildlife Guide available for hire from one day, or Rothiemurchus and Glenlivet Centres offer themed, guided walks or driving tours led by a Wildlife Ranger. Have a love of trees? a visit to Glenmore Forest Park near Aviemore – will reveal a pocket of ancient Caledonian Pinewoods where pine, juniper and birch survive. The Falls of Pattack, near Laggan and The Falls of Truim to the South of Newtonmore are enchanting places, offering an ideal picnic area while you watch the salmon. Visit www.swt.org.uk and request a brochure; you will be amazed at the range of planned events.
What a marvellous backcloth for some of the most diverse wildlife in Scotland. Where else would it seem so naturally part of everyday life to see a heron fishing (no not thieving from a fish pond!), an osprey dive into the water and rise as quickly holding a wriggling salmon in its talons, a duck lead her ‘crocodile of ducklings over a country road to get to water or catch a glimpse of deer grazing gently in a tree lined field.