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Park Talk: Celebrating Spring at the Cairngorms Nature Festival

5th May 2016

By Peter Argyle, CNPA Convener

I love the spring. After months spent looking out at a fairly colourless landscape, bemoaning the lack of snow and then complaining when it comes, the almost imperceptible daily greening of the countryside is an annual miracle. No wonder our long-ago ancestors made such a thing of it.

The sudden flush of new leaves on the birches or even the great masses of wild primroses I saw from the train on my way to Stirling for the Scottish Campaign for National Parks AGM the other day, are powerful reminders of what an astonishingly beautiful country this is.

This being so, could there be a better time to celebrate the fantastic nature we have in the Cairngorms National Park than May? And isn’t ‘nature’ an altogether nicer word than ‘biodiversity’?

The Cairngorms Nature Festival is almost upon us again, running this year on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of May at a location near you.The Festival is genuinely going from strength to strength; every year sees a more varied programme of events, most of which are entirely free and are designed to appeal to all ages and all interests.

There are events taking place in Badenoch and Strathspey, Tomintoul, Upper Deeside and Blair Atholl as well as others, such as the Photo-post Challenge, that are Park-wide.

One great responsibility we all have is encouraging and inspiring the next generation to love and understand the natural world around them. This being so it is good to see so many events that are designed to appeal to young minds.

It is a little known fact that the Loch Garten forest holds a nationally important population of elves and fairies, for example. Encouraging our children to join in the fun of creating a beautiful garden for those even smaller than themselves is an imaginative way to awaken their curiosity and interest.

Other events will see people taking to the hills to look for wildlife that is particularly good at keeping out of sight, looking for and understanding the importance of wood ants or being guided to the best locations to see capercaillie or eagles, red squirrels or pine martens.

Broadcaster Pennie Latin will be in Boat of Garten, in conversation with film maker Nigel Pope about the new television series for BBC Scotland; Highlands – Scotland’s Wild Heart. Hosted by the BBC, this evening event promises to be a fascinating insight into how this series was made, in all weathers, over 300 days.

The programme for the 2016 Festival is available on our website. Many events require that you book a place and all booking details are available in the programme. It really does have something for everyone and hopefully the weather will be kind to us that weekend. It’s neither a bank holiday nor a school break so….

As the poet TS Eliot mentioned (in Little Gidding) “We shall not cease from exploration..” Where better to explore than our own doorsteps?

So note the date, find the details and come and join the very best Nature Festival in the Cairngorms.