Here is another blog to introduce one of the finest naturalists on our time. Please welcome Ewan...
In a very real way, Loch Garten is where it all began for me. I came here first as a little kid, nearly twenty years ago, and after learning about the forest creatures, seeing the red squirrels and the little birds at the feeders and above all, of course, seeing the ospreys on the nest: I was hooked. I think I went away that day wanting to be an osprey, and definitely went away with a new inspiration and passion (and an RSPB membership to boot!).
Born and brought up in Edinburgh, I have always felt a pull to the north. Throughout my life I have been travelling to the Highlands, and have undoubtedly spent more time in and appreciating nature here than anywhere else. This landscape, and its wildlife, feel familiar. Whether sitting under the umbrella of a pine, or standing on a desolate mountaintop, or walking by a lochside, I feel more myself here than anywhere else, come rain, wind, or sun (or all three at once). I have watched hen harriers over the Orkney moors, black-throated divers off the coast of Assynt, golden eagles over the Isle of Eigg, and golden plover high above the Angus Glens.
I studied a degree in chemistry but after too many years, I realised that that was not the right path for me. For a while then I was without purpose, just trying to figure out what to do with my life. I found my re-inspiration when, like so many others, I decided I wanted to give up a little bit of my time to do a bit of good for nature. I started volunteering with Trees for Life, helping with their conservation work in the Caledonian forest in Glen Moriston and Glen Affric. I remembered that this was my passion, this landscape and these trees, this forest and everything it holds. I realised that this was what I wanted to do, what I could do. This was my inspiration, and I could use that to inspire others too.
So I was excited to come back to where it began, to join the Nature Team for this year at Loch Garten, to spend more time in the forest and find more inspiration, and to share that with as many of you as possible. Things will definitely be a little different from how I was expecting. But I hope that you and I, between us, can make this work.
It is my ultimate aim to know everything about everything in the Caledonian forest. The more I learn, unfortunately, the more there is to know. It is definitely an impossible task. But I hope to have a good crack at it. There will be plenty time for reading over the next few weeks, certainly. The beauty in impossible tasks, anyway, is that they never end. Unlike blog posts.
Hello Ewen, welcome and nice to hear from you. I hope you enjoy your time at LG, a truly wonderful place to be. I have visited twice, popping back and forth in the week in both 2017 /18. Your days will certainly be packed with plenty to see and do (once lockdown is sorted). Enjoy.
Thank you Catlady, it is lovely to be here. Even under lockdown there is still plenty to see - hopefully you will hear more on that from me later! Looking forward to getting properly stuck in when I can.
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