Wild Lochaber Festival 2016
Did you ever feel that you wanted to get to know your local wildlife and environment a little better? If so, there is a great opportunity coming up shortly. The 5th Annual Wild Lochaber Festival will be held between 21st and 28th May. There will be plenty of events for both families and individuals, including several taking place in and around Glencoe. These include a botany and birds guided walk around the woodlands of Onich with the Lochaber Natural History Society, landrover safaris from NTS Glencoe, NTS guided walks to the Buachaille and Hidden Valley, as well as SeaXplorer fast boat wildlife tours from Ballachulish and even escorted buggy tours of Highland Title’s Duror nature reserve. As part of the week’s activities, The Wild Lochaber Festival will kick off on the evening of Saturday 21st. with a ‘Go Wild on the Canal’ event at Neptune’s Staircase, which will give folk a chance to talk to a number of organisations involved in environmental matters, as well as enjoying all the fun of the raft races. Glenuig Hall will once again run a Seashore Festival on Sunday 22nd, which is a great family day out. A little further afield there will be a full programme of events on Rum, pine marten watching, butterfly hunting, a searchlight safari, kayak expeditions, bushcraft and herb workshops, geological walks, landrover tours and much more.
The Wild Lochaber Festival is being organised this year for the first time by the Lochaber Geopark. The Geopark celebrates not only the underlying geology of the area, but also the wildlife and human cultural activities that have arisen within this landscape. Working with other environmental organisations within Lochaber it is hoped that the Geopark will be increasingly seen as a first port of call for raising awareness of and providing opportunities for enjoying the natural history of the region. The Lochaber Geopark Visitor Centre situated in Fort William High Street will act as a focal point for the Festival, and further information about events can be found there. The Visitor Centre will also be hosting its own event to welcome folk to the newly refurbished facilities on Monday 23rd, during which an updated booklet of the successful Wild Lochaber Trails will be launched. For up to date information and details of any additional events, please visit the website www.wildlochaber.org and see our Facebook page ‘Wildlochaber’ (please remember to ‘like’ us!). If advance booking is required then please contact the activity providers directly to reserve your place. If you have any queries, suggestions or comments please feel to contact Lochaber Geopark on info@lochabergeopark .org.uk or ring 01397 705314.
Another forum for environmental concerns is the Lochaber Local Biodiversity Action Plan Group. This is an informal group of organisations and individuals working locally in the environmental sector. The original purpose of the group was to provide a local biological action plan to highlight issues and possible solutions for the protection and conservation of our local species and landscape. The document ‘Living Lochaber’ was produced several years ago to draw attention to some of our key species and habitats and proposed a number of possible actions to help conserve them. This document is still available through the Highland Council, and is a fascinating and pertinent read, along with the wider Highland Biological Action Plan, published last year. The Lochaber LBAP group is hoping to become more active as central Highland funding becomes scarce. We would like to revise the action plan, become a more open conduit through which concerns about the environmental effects of local planning decisions can be channelled, and also a vehicle for instigating project work, particularly where several organisations can work together. In order to make the process work, more community input is needed, along with volunteers to actually help carry out some of the project work we would like to see progressed.
If you would like to become involved or would like more information please contact Jon Mercer on 07817443370.