Successful glens meeting

THERE was an excellent attendance at a recent meeting in Edzell where almost 60 proprietors, factors, farmers and gamekeepers turned out to hear about the highly successful Angus Glens Tick Project.

The Project, which is run by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is entering its final year during which time researchers will continue to study the impact of ticks on wildlife and seek methods of reducing this parasite and the louping ill virus which it transmits.

Mainly funded by the Angus Glens estate owners, the project is unique in its collaborative approach to research and land management and is dedicated to improving the health of these upland areas for game, wildlife and humans. Since the start of the project six years ago, many of the Glens estates have employed the GWCT’s best practice guidelines with regards to acaracide treatment for sheep and thus have been successful in reducing tick levels. This, in conjunction with other upland management techniques, has resulted in an uplift in red grouse numbers which in turn has been beneficial to the local economy.

Attendees were given presentations by the GWCT’s main project researcher Laura Taylor,

senior upland scientist Dr Kathy Fletcher and director Scotland Dr Adam Smith.

“The GWCT has benefited from monitoring the management in the Angus Glens as it has enabled us to take our research forward and improve our advice in the future.” said Dr Fletcher.

Ian Coghill, GWCT chairman of trustees, was guest speaker and Roddy d’Anyers Willis director of event sponsors Savills gave the vote of thanks following questions from the floor.

“This project must be regarded as one of the most successful pieces of research carried out by the GWCT in Scotland in recent years and we are indebted to those who have participated,” said Mr d’Anyers Willis.

“In particular I would like to cite Laura Taylor and Dr Kathy Fletcher who have inspired not just keepers but farmers and shepherds to participate and benefit from tick research and control. Savills is delighted to have been invited to support this initiative. We cannot match the generosity of the grouse moor owners who have helped to fund the project but we are proud to be associated with this excellent piece of grouse research. It has been most rewarding to watch the progress and to witness the revival of grouse and the moorland birds in the Angus Glens.”