People are being invited to join Highland Council’s Rangers on an array of outdoor events and activities that celebrate spring and bring the promise of summer.
From riverside walks, guided nature tours, beachcombing and bird watching to a Midsummer’s night walk the Rangers are urging people to get out and about and take advantage of the wonderful natural heritage that the Highlands has to offer.
Corinne Hambly Ranger for Inverness West said: “You don’t need to watch wildlife on TV or read about it online – its everywhere around us and we can help you to find your own interests in nature while enjoying the great outdoors.” Corinne will be leading a 5km riverside wander on Saturday 12 June from 11am - 2pm on the banks of the River Beauly taking in scenery and wildlife.
On Tuesday 15 June, Assynt Ranger Andy Summers will be looking for the Signs of Spring on a tour of the area from 10am-4pm and 9pm – 11pm. He said: “Assynt is stunning in June and we are hoping to give visitors and locals a chance to see some of the areas best wildlife. We will share cars to tour around some of the best sites for seeing Red Deer, Otters, and Common Seals. We will share our experience and local knowledge to look for Black-throated Divers, Greenshank, Golden Eagles and Twite and visit one of the best areas to try for Dolphins and Porpoises. We will also be looking for Fragrant Orchids, Mountain Avens and visit a flowering machair. On the evening walk we hope to meet up again to visit a Pipistrelle Bat roost and see some moths.”
For beach lovers and seabird watchers Paul Castle, Ranger for North Sutherland and North Caithness has some excellent activities lined up. On Wednesday 16 June, Paul will be leading a walk from Portskerra to Melvich Dunes from 2pm – 5pm to view the coastal wildflowers and enjoy some beachcombing for mermaids’ purses. Puffin-lovers can join Paul on Wednesday 30 June to view the largest local puffin colony of these popular ‘clowns of the ocean’. Bird watching beginners can join him on Wednesday 7 July from 11am – 2pm to learn about coastal birds around Thurso. A telescope will be provided, but participants are asked to bring their own binoculars on the bird watching events.
Paul said: “If beach combing and bird watching are not your scene then I’ll be needing some help looking for whales and dolphins at Strathy Point - the best look out site on the north coast - on Friday 2 July from 12noon – 2pm. Check before leaving though as this event will be very weather dependent. I’ll also be at Strathy Point on Saturday 12 June from 12noon – 2pm taking in the sea caves, birds and sea pink flowers with the possible sight of whales, dolphins or porpoise.”
Anyone who has always wanted to experience Midsummer Night can join East Caithness Ranger, Dieter Tuerlinckx on 21 June for a woodland walk to take in the smells of the season and listen out for all kinds of wildlife. Participants might be lucky to hear the call of a tawny owl, see some bats in action, smell wild flowers and feel the atmosphere of this very special date. Contact Dieter on tel: 01955 607758 for further information on the location of this event and to book a place.
Also in North Caithness, Seasonal Ranger, Neil Macleod will be creating Mini Beast Fun on Tuesday 13 July from 11am – 1pm for children aged 8 – 12 years to hunt with nets in the forest and ponds.
In Badenoch and Strathspey, Ranger Saranne Bish will be taking people on one of her favourites walks at Loch Vaa as she looks for the signs of Spring on Wednesday 23 June from 11am – 2pm.
Saranne said: “This lovely walk is one of my favourites in Strathspey and I try to do it at least once a year. The variety of wildlife can be astonishing, from narrow headed wood ants to the possibility of seeing an Osprey. We start the walk in gorgeous birch woodlands where the long-tailed tits flitter around you as the wood ants carpet the ground with their trails to and from food sources. The woodland flowers are quite subtle but the yellows, white and blues become more obvious as you start to focus your attention. Loch Vaa is home to an ancient crannog and the surrounding moorland, pinewoods and tiny lochans complement each other beautifully. I’ve seen slow worms, amphibians galore and even a hobby here.....bring your lunch, binoculars, a relaxed attitude and we’ll see what we can find!”
For a very special experience to a rare habitat in the beautiful area of Applecross, Lindsey Duncan, Wester Ross Ranger will guide a walk on Tuesday 6 July from 11am – 2:30pm to the Coral beaches of Ard Ban (The White Promontory) near Applecross and explain how these stunning white sands are formed. As it is a moorland and coastal walk of around 6km pariticpants are encouraged to bring a picnic and sturdy shoes as some sections are rough.
For further information or to book a place on any of The Highland Council Countryside Ranger events please contact:
• Corinne Hambly, Inverness West, tel: 01463 710 786
• Andy Summers, Assynt, tel: 01571 844654 e-mail: email@example.com
• Paul Castle, North Sutherland and North Caithness tel: 01641 521884 or 01847 821531 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Neil Macleod, North Caithness Seasonal Ranger tel: 01847 821531
• Saranne Bish, Badenoch and Strathspey, North tel: 01479 873914 e-mail: Saranne.email@example.com
• Lindsey Duncan, Wester Ross tel: 01854 613904 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org