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Case Studies > Estate tours at the Cairngorms Nature Festival

Glenmuick Estate, Ballater


Case Study Estate tours at the Cairngorms Nature Festival Glenmuick Estate, Ballater www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study Estate tours at the Cairngorms Nature Festival Glenmuick Estates in Ballater is a 5,000 acre mixture of open moor, farmland and forest. The objectives of the Estate encompass conservation, habitat enhancement and protection, food production, and helping contribute to the sustainability of the community around Ballater. Recent flooding in the village and surrounding area produced much-appreciated practical support from the region’s Estates and farming community, reinforcing the cohesion of this region and the close ties between its land and people.

The Estate is an accredited member of Wildlife Estates Scotland, a quality assurance system which encourages good land management practice and is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Cairngorm National Park.

Cairngorm Nature Festival is an initiative aimed at showcasing the best of the National Park’s outstanding wildlife and scenery by inviting members of the public to join in the fun and visit many of its best assets. Glenmuick Estate were very pleased to participate and offered their Head Keeper, David Caithness, as a guide for the visitors who signed up to attend a fascinating and ultimately surprising morning on the Estate. Scottish Land & Estates Highland Manager, Drew McFarlane-Slack and Wildlife Estates Scotland’s Ross McLeod attended the event together with National Park Ecologist, David Hetherington.

The event began with a stiff walk to look at moorland management practice, Muirburn and heather management with discussions about the number of bird species that this habitat encourages. We also considered the role of rabbits and hare, and the management of Deer on Glenmuick and neighbouring Estates. On the river Muick, we looked at the importance of this stretch of the river as a nursery for salmon and trout and how the health of fish stocks are supported. We looked at selective native riparian tree planting and compared the health of the riverbank which is largely unfenced with that of the fenced woodland regeneration programme. The visitors asked a number of pertinent questions and showed great interest in issues relating to landowning in Scotland, land reform, deer and grouse management, habitat quality, and access amongst many others.

The tour then moved on to the Estate Deer Farm where they looked at the recent history of Deer Farming in Scotland, its lack of support mechanisms within the farm subsidy system and how the Government responded to this and to a burgeoning import imbalance. However, there is now greater assistance for the sector, farmers are getting more confident in the market and at Glenmuick, and they have found a ready local market in Ballater that is now thriving. The visitors were open-eyed when David called the very pregnant Hind herd to meet us and soon they were within arm’s reach while they munched on some cobs from David. This was a spectacular end to a wonderful day and many thanks to Glenmuick, Cairngorm National Park, Scottish Land & Estates and of course, the visitors who admitted they had learned a great deal from their day out on one of Scotland’s most beautiful Estates.
Scottish Land & Estates
Stuart House, Eskmills Business Park, Musselburgh, EH21 7PB

t 0131 653 5400   e info@scottishlandandestates.co.uk   w www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk