February – 2022 (Vol. 45, Number 08)
The Banner Says…
For the Love of Scotland’s Great Outdoors
For some, February is month of love. For most of us when we visit Scotland one of the things we love most to do is get out and see the incredible natural spaces.
There is nothing quite like being in the great outdoors, especially when in Scotland. All of us should have access to green spaces and be able to connect in some way with nature. In Scotland there is an abundance of rich and diverse spaces which locals and visitors alike can enjoy. From the majestic Highlands to the lowlands and islands, and even some great city parks, Scotland offers a great tapestry of nature that is easily accessible to all.
I am very much a city person overall and certainly love to take in Scotland’s urban playgrounds when I am visiting, but equally I love getting out of the city and hitting both the high and low roads of Scotland. For a relatively small country Scotland boasts some incredible natural assets which likely is the reason many visit the country for. These include the popular National Parks, National Nature Reserves and the UNESCO Global Geoparks and Biospheres.
Currently Scotland has two National Parks, the Cairngorms National Park, which happens to be the largest in the UK, and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The Scottish Government has pledged to create a third National Park for the country with contenders including Ben Nevis, Glen Affric, Argyll, Wester Ross, Harris, the Scottish Borders, and Galloway. A new National Park would champion, promote, and conserve some of Scotland’s most magnificent landscapes. A National Park would also have economic impacts as it would attract local and international visitors and help fragile rural economies to rebuild and thrive whilst helping Scotland tackle its biodiversity and climate change challenges.
Creating a new National Park would greatly assist Scotland’s ambitious commitment to protect at least 30% of its land for nature by 2030. A recent online poll found Galloway was top choice with more votes than all of Scotland’s other six possible park locations combined.
A statement from Galloway National Park Association said: “Galloway is the natural choice not just because of its fabulous countryside and coasts but because so many members of the public, businesses, voluntary organisations and others are so enthusiastic about the potential social, economic and environmental benefits.”
Many people across the UK are becoming more aware of the precious natural spaces around them and the incredible species that live there. Four in five adults in Britain support rewilding, according to new research and Scotland is looking to become Europe’s first ‘rewilding nation’. An opinion poll commissioned by the charity Rewilding Britain shows that 81% of Britons support rewilding, with 40% strongly supportive and just 5% of people opposed. Rewilding Britain defines rewilding as the large-scale restoration of nature to the point it can take care of itself – restoring habitats and natural processes, and where appropriate reintroducing missing species.
Charity Trees for Life plans to open the world’s first rewilding centre at Dundreggan in the Scottish Highlands this year. This is expected to welcome over 50,000 visitors annually – allowing people to explore the wild landscapes, discover Gaelic culture, and learn about the region’s unique wildlife including golden eagles, pine martens and red squirrels.
In this issue
One person who manages to get out into Scotland’s great outdoors is Finlay Wilson. Finlay is famous for doing Kilted Yoga in some of Scotland’s most scenic places, in a kilt. Finlay practices ancient yoga methods amongst some of Scotland’s ancient locations and now has students and followers from across the world who love both the practice of yoga and the nation of Scotland.
For ye’ll take the high road And
I’ll take the low road And I’ll be in
Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love
will never meet again
On the bonny banks of Loch Lomond.
These famous lyrics are known by Scots the world over and sung and numerous events instilling both longing and pride for Scotland. If like me, you may have never known who the ‘me and my true love’ actually referred to. A descendant and Scottish Banner reader tells us more about this incredible love song and its connection to one of Scotland’s most horrific battles.
Scotland’s great outdoor beauty
For those lucky enough to visit Scotland there is nothing like being amongst Scotland’s grea outdoor beauty. From rugged Highland landscapes with towering mountains to clear lochs and island coastlines. Sure, it just may rain, it may be cold and there may be midges, but that is Scotland. With the pandemic affecting so many people during the last couple of years many have turned to nature for solace, inspiration and to simply reset and people’s connection with the natural world has had a much needed reboot.
With habitats and species being eradicated rapidly worldwide, the United Nations has declared 2021- 2030 the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. The Scottish Government has committed itself to bold action to tackle the crisis facing biodiversity through its Edinburgh
As visitors to Scotland, we can also take part in more responsible tourism when next visiting, consider how sustainable you are travelling, leave just your footprints and respect the environment you are in. Scotland is a gift to the world, and we need for that gift to keep on giving for many years to come.
Where is your favourite place in Scotland to enjoy nature? Share your story with us! Do you have you any comments from the content in this month’s edition? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us
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