Young Wildcats – HILL to GRILL

February 16th 2018

The day was cold and wet but 33 pupils from Ullapool High School S2 were on their hands and knees, and often their stomachs, crawling through the heather and bog! A small herd of red deer were munching happily on the hillside unaware of the approaching group of people. The pupils were not there to shoot the deer but to capture a photograph. The group were divided into four teams at four locations in Assynt. The team that came home with the best photograph would win. Why were they doing all this? It was all part of a project called Hill to Grill organised by Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape with help from the Highland Rangers, Assynt Foundation, John Muir Trust, and teachers from the school.

The project was designed to show the Ullapool pupils just where our food comes from and how it gets from the hill to the kitchen and onto our plates. And, as far as we know, this is the first time a school has ever done something like this.

It was great fun tracking the deer – looking for footprints and stuff. We learned about walking into the wind and moving quietly to reduce being sensed by deer” said Ralph.

Wild venison has lower food miles.  It is one of the healthiest forms of meat, high in protein, lower in fat and has higher levels of vitamins and minerals than beef.  The free range nature of wild deer also means that the animals have a high quality of life.

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Recent Sightings

Kittiwake

c100 adult and 1st-winter birds feeding off Clachtoll (DAH) (24/09)

Tufted Duck

two male birds on Loch Drumbeg (DAH) (22/09)

Merlin

single bird near Stoer Village Hall (DAH) (21/09)

UPDATE on colour-ringed Oystercatcher

we have heard back from the Icelandic Wader Group regarding the colour-ringed Oystercatcher spotted at Bay of Culkein on Tuesday. It was ringed, as an adult, near its nest while it was territory-guarding on 19th May this year; the location was Eskifjorour which is on the east coast of Iceland. We will post a short article on the Field Club's website in the next few days regarding other sightings of colour-ringed birds recorded in Assynt (DAH) (20/09)

Pink-footed Goose

c225, in four skeins, heading east over Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). Oh boy, it's autumn! (20/09)

Wigeon

single male in eclipse plumage Loch Inver (DAH) (20/09)

Manx Shearwater

young bird rescued from a garden at Inchnadamph (Chris Rix/Andy Summers). The bird, which was well off-course, was successfully released at Stoer the next day. (18/09)

Oystercatcher

four birds resting on rocks Bay of Culkein (DAH). One of these birds, an adult, had a combination of coloured rings on its legs. The details have been submitted to the appropriate ringing scheme, which appears to be the International Wader Study Group, and we will report back once we hear from them. (18/09)

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