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Tread lightly in the mountains this spring

9th May 2014

Spring is an important time of year for ground nesting birds and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is encouraging people to be keep their dogs on a lead and tread lightly in key areas this spring.

Warmer weather on the plateau heralds the arrival of the Dotterel and marks a turn in the season. This diminutive bird with its plaintive cry makes its home on the high ground in the Park. It nests in open scrapes lined with scraps of lichen and grasses and picks off insects among the short vegetation.

Nic Bullivant Head Ranger at Cairngorm Mountain said: “Most walkers are probably unaware of how vulnerable ground-nesting birds are to regular disturbance, especially by dogs. Dotterel and ptarmigan have no defence, no-where else to go.”

CNPA board member Martin Price added: “Dotterel and our other mountain birds are among what makes the Park so unique and we should all be doing what we can to safeguard them for future generations. Enjoy this special place but please do be mindful of the damage that can result if dogs are not under control.”

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides comprehensive advice for dog walkers and all aspects of accessing the Scottish countryside in a safe manner at