Cairngorms National Park

View to Braemar

Park Talk – Nature Calling

12th July 2018

By Peter Agyle, CNPA Convener

When I chatted lightly a month ago about the unusually fine summer weather, I little thought I would be doing the same thing today or that there would be growing concern over water supplies and the threat of wild fire. Memories of 1976 for the Cairngorms. We all must be extremely careful as we move about our beautiful Park, particularly with disposable barbeques. The damage wild fires cause can hardly be overstated.

But despite the lack of rain, the Cairngorms are looking stunning under blue skies and this beauty reminds me daily about the importance of this area for conservation and nature – as well as being a place where people live and work.

One area which is at the forefront of our work on conservation is the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan. From small beginnings in 2013, this partnership has become firmly established as it has driven forward excellent work on peatland restoration and woodland expansion, as well as work on our hugely important flora and fauna. The partnership works at a ‘landscape scale’ and I am proud of what has been achieved over the past 5 years.

We are now consulting on the draft Cairngorms Nature Action Plan which will cover the period from 2018-2023. The main areas of focus are landscape scale conservation, action for priority species and the involvement of people in all the partnership’s work.

This includes our new programme for volunteer rangers which is proving to be a real success, attracting interest from across the Park and beyond. I will write more about this in a future column.

The CNP is recognised as an important area for some very significant species – around 1200 are internationally or nationally important. Sadly too many are facing an uncertain future; not just iconic species such as the wildcat or capercaillie but many others from Northern Damselfly to Wood ants and from Twinflower to One Flowered Wintergreen. Important species all, together with our important populations of waders and raptors.

We know that for many, many people throughout the Park and beyond these are vitally important issues and I hope that everyone will take part in this consultation. It is live at the moment and runs through to the 14th of September, with details on the CNPA website or from the Grantown office. Please do take time to have a look at what is being proposed and let us know what you think.

Finally I have been privileged to be part of the recruitment process for the new board members to be appointed by Ministers. We will have 5 vacancies on the board in the CNPA and there will also be 5 at Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

I was delighted by the response to the call for applications and by the extremely high calibre of the applicants. This did not make drawing up a short list particularly easy but it does, I believe, reflect well on the place that our two National Parks have established in the national consciousness – and in a relatively short time. We are still teenagers!

The sunshine beckons. I will close by wishing everyone a fine summer break (if you are having one) and a fine and prosperous summer if you are not.