This summer, a new poetic form was born – the Cairngorms Lyric. RSPB Scotland’s Jen Mullen finds out more.

The Cairngorms Lyric

What is a Cairngorms Lyric?

Merryn Glover, Writer in Residence for the Cairngorms National Park, is facilitating a project called ‘Shared Stories: A Year in the Cairngorms’. It aims to encourage people to write creatively in response to nature. One element that has emerged from the project is ‘The Cairngorms Lyric’, thought up by Merryn. It is inspired by the Cairngorms and poetic forms like the Japanese Haiku. A Cairngorms Lyric must be made up of fifteen words (+ or – a title), must include an element of nature from the Cairngorms and must contain a word or name of non-English origin. For the full explanation of the Lyric, see here.

Finding inspiration at Insh Marshes

Sarah Walker, our Community Learning Officer, has been helping the Junior Rangers from Grantown Grammar School and Kingussie Highschool to create their own Cairngorms Lyrics.

Earlier this summer, the Junior Rangers visited Insh Marshes to learn about the Aspen ecology on the reserve. Aspen is native to the UK and is most common in the Scottish Highlands but, even here, it occurs in small and isolated populations. There are only a few aspen dominated woodlands left here and one of those is at our Insh Marshes reserve.

Aspen supports a wide range of animal and plant species; some of these are very rare and only associated with aspen, like the aspen hoverfly – one of the UK’s rarest hoverflies! Their larvae require decaying aspen wood to feed.

Aspen is also very important for many rare mosses and lichens, like the aspen bristle moss. This rare moss was thought to be extinct in the UK until it was rediscovered in Rothiemurchus in the 1990s.

Inspired by all of the fascinating aspen facts that they learned during their visit to Insh Marshes, the Junior Rangers created their own Cairngorms Lyrics with Sarah’s help. Have a look at the images below to see how they got on.

A selection of Cairngorms Lyrics from the Junior Rangers of Grantown Grammar and Kingussie High School

Merryn said: “It’s been fantastic to see how many people have used Cairngorms Lyrics so creatively in their own context. Sarah discovered them at an Outdoor and Woodland Learning Scotland workshop I led and I am delighted to see how they have enriched the Junion Ranger’s aspen study”.

The poems are now on display in the Kingussie Library which is in the Badenoch Centre.

Have you been inspired by the Cairngorms? Why not try writing your own Cairngorms Lyric and share it with us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #CairngormsLyric. We’d love to read them.