Field Trips

Field trips are an integral part of the symposium and offer a great opportunity for delegates to learn more about important Martes work being conducted in nearby woodlands while getting to know fellow delegates in a friendly casual atmosphere.

Field trips will be half-day in length on Weds Sept 13 from the conference venue. Sign-up for one of the two sessions will occur the first day of the symposium.

o Learn about Cairngorms Connect initiative with talks from project manager and site managers on habitat restoration. Cairngorms Connect Predator Project and research into mesopredators, including martens.

o Site visits to marten habitat, including plantations and Caledonian pinewoods. Talks from biologists, forest managers, conservationists and gamekeepers on opinion on the role of martens in the system and the impact of martens on priority prey species and applied management techniques etc.

Field trips will leave from Coylumbridge Hotel with bus transport being kindly provided by Forestry and Land Scotland. Sign up for the field trips when you sign in at the Registration Desk at the start of the symposium.

1. Symposium Field trip

Wednesday 13th September

Depart Coylumbridge Hotel at 0900, return to hotel at approximately 1600.

50 spaces available on the bus.  At each stop, the group will be split into two and rotated between two sessions.

Stop 1. 

Approximate timing: 09:30 to 10:30
Location: MacAlpine Plantation
Bus parking: On roadside next to bridge (unless bus can cross bridge?).

Jeremy Roberts, Programme Manager, Cairngorms Connect
Brian Duff, Strathspey Delivery Forester, Forestry and Land Scotland.
Cristian Waggershauser, Wildlife Researcher, University of Highlands and Islands.
Kenny Kortland, Wildlife Ecologist, Forestry and Land Scotland and Cairngorms Connect Predator Project.

Learn about the Cairngorms Connect initiative, forest restoration and studies being carried out on the novel, reassembling vertebrate predator community.

Stop 2.

Approximate timing: 11:30 to 13:00
Location: Boat of Garten wood
Bus parking: Community Hall, then walk into forest.

Hosts: Seafield and Strathspey Estates.

Topic: Seafield and Strathspey Estates is one of the oldest privately-owned estates in Scotland.  Through their progressive approach, they endeavour to reconcile various land management objectives.  Forest management for timber production and biodiversity is successfully carried out and we will hear about this from Will Anderson, Chief Executive.  One issue for the estate is trying to balance the interests of legally protected predators, such as pine marten, with other conservation and sporting priorities, such as capercaillie and red grouse. 

Stop 3.

Approximate timing: 13:30 to 15:30; including lunch stop (packed lunches from hotel).
Location: Abernethy Forest Reserve

Richard Mason, Senior Site Manager, Abernethy Forest Reserve, RSPB Scotland
Jack Bamber, PhD student, Cairngorms Connect Predator Project and Aberdeen University.
Xavier Lambin, Professor of Ecology, Cairngorms Connect Predator Project and Aberdeen University.

Abernethy National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of the largest and most inspiring reserves. It stretches from the River Nethy to the top of Ben Macdui, high on the Cairngorm plateau. Abernethy NNR encompasses one of the largest remnants of Caledonian pinewood, as well as moorland, wetlands and mountains. The reserve is home to a host of specialist pinewood and upland plants and animals.  During this visit, we will learn about how the reserve is managed and what research and measures are being undertaken to reconcile protected species with a diversifying vertebrate predator community.  Members of the Cairngorms Connect Predator Project team will tell us about vertebrate predator research and

Discover: Cairngorms National Park from above:

Post-conference excursions

We have also organized several post-conference excursions for those hoping to explore the area around Aviemore after the symposium has wrapped up:

Saturday 16th September

Depart Coylumbridge Hotel at 09:30

Morning: Urquhart Castle (please book your tickets online, in advance).

Afternoon: Chanonry Point to look for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates), harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and seabirds; possibly including gannet (Morus bassanus), guillemot (Urias aalge) and long-tailed duck (Clangula hymalis).

Possible stop in Inverness on return, if requested and if time allows.

Sunday 17th September

Depart Coylumbridge Hotel at 08:30. Pick up at ski centre car park at 17:00.

Hiking trip to Ben Macdui. Please note that this is a straightforward, but serious hike that requires a good level of fitness and proper footwear and waterproof clothing.  The hike will be guided, but participants should bring equipment for independent navigation if necessary.  Possible wildlife includes mountain hare (Lepus timidus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta).

Note that trip is weather dependent.  If weather is unsuitable, an alternative, low-level walk will be organised.

For more information, please contact:
Kenny Kortland, Forestry and Land Scotland