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Park Talk – Bliadhna mhath ùr!

18th January 2024

By Sandy Bremner, Convener, Cairngorms National Park Authority

Bliadhna mhath ùr! Happy New Year! While I might live in the east of the country where Doric is king, Gaelic was once the dominant language in much of the Cairngorms.

You just have to look around you, or pick up a map, to see that Gaelic is still of particular significance here in the Cairngorms National Park – or if you prefer, ‘Pàirc Nàiseanta a’ Mhonaidh Ruaidh’ – even though these days it’s not spoken by as many residents as it once was.

Translations are often contentious, but think about our place names such as Newtonmore, translated as ‘the new town of the moor’; Bellabeg or ‘the little town’; or the one that always makes me smile – Glenshee meaning ‘fairy glen’.

Sometimes the translations pose more questions than they answer. Loch Mallachie means ‘the loch of the curse’ but who or what was being cursed?

It is a fascinating language and, as a public sector body in Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority has a duty to prepare a Gaelic Language Plan. The third edition of this plan is out for consultation for six weeks from 25 January and we are seeking your views on how we use and develop Gaelic in our everyday work. Please get involved if you can, to help create a sustainable future for Gaelic.

Talking of the future – 2024 is shaping up to be an exciting one here in the National Park. Despite a backdrop of tight public sector budget settlements, the Park Authority has seen a small increase in its resource, following the Scottish Government budget which was announced just before Christmas. There is also a national peatland budget and a nature restoration fund sitting with Scottish Government. We will receive further information on allocations from those in the coming weeks.

All this funding – and more that we hope to attract over the course of 2024 – will be invested right here in the Cairngorms National Park, helping us to continue to meet ambitious targets to deliver for people and nature, tackle climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and support communities.

Of course, it is only by working with our many partners – as well as securing finance – that we can achieve the objectives we have in our sights. There are so many people already working hard across the National Park to combat the challenges we face, but by pulling together and seeking out that extra financial support, we can help individuals, groups and organisations to deliver more, faster, and on a landscape scale.

I look forward to continuing to play my part as Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority Board. It is our job to guide and shape the work of the Park Authority, ensuring that both the natural environment and local communities are cared for and sustained for current and future generations.

And I look forward to getting out and about across the National Park and catching up with more of you in 2024.

Tapadh leat (Thank you)