Bird-life around Quinag and in Gleann Leireag, 1982-2005: An Introduction by Doug Mainland

May 29th 2022

Bird-life around Quinag and in Gleann Leireag, 1982-2005: An Introduction by Doug Mainland

I was born and grew up in Aberdeen and in my late teens I joined a national retailer on their management training scheme in my home town. I was transferred around a number of stores in Scotland and northern England for further experience. In 1971, I was appointed Deputy Manager of a store in Liverpool.  It was during my time there that I met my future wife Angela. In 1974, I took over as Manager of a store in Morley near Leeds, and in 1975 Angela and I got married. I moved on to manage stores in Dudley, West Midlands, and then back in my home town, Aberdeen.

A Move to Assynt

In 1982 I saw an advert for a Manager at Lochinver Stores and decided that, if I applied for the position and got it, I would give up retailing on the high streets of cities and towns. And so it was to be. In 2001, after 19 years managing the Stores, I was asked to take on the management of the Assynt Estate. That position ended with the breakup of the Estate in 2005. For the next year or so, I did some site monitoring for an environmental consultancy firm and had a couple of short fixedterm contracts bird monitoring for the RSPB. In 2006, I successfully applied for a position as Manager of the National Trust for Scotland’s Glencoe property. I considered myself very lucky to have had the chance to manage two such beautiful parts of Scotland.

Doug Mainland

[Doug modestly omits to mention that, during his 25 years in Assynt, he was an active member of the Assynt Mountain Rescue Team.  He was also a founder member, in 1986, of the Assynt Field Club, serving as its Treasurer, and was an enthusiastic supporter, with Angela, of the work of the Club for twenty years.  He was co-author, with Ian Evans, of Birds of Assynt: an annotated checklist, which ran to three editions between 1998 and 2004; it was a major fund-raiser for the Club, and is still in print.  Since moving to Beauly in 2011, he has continued to work with the Highland Raptor Study Group, serving as its Chairman for eight years up to 2020.]

His account of the bird-life around Quinag and Gleann Leireag during his time in Assynt may be accessed here.





Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Harbour Porpoise

Mother and calf off Stoer Head Lighthouse (DAH) (15/06)

Small Magpie moth (Anania hortulata)

Single moth in garden, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). This is only the second ever record of this micro moth in the West Sutherland recording area, VC108. The first record was on 1st June this year in the garden of the County Moth Recorder in Melvich on the north coast. However, this does make it the first ever record for Assynt. Photo Gallery - Moths. (14/06)

Golden Plover

Eight birds over Clachtoll (DAH) (13/06)


Single bird flying over garden, Ardvar (Beccy Garvey) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly, Nedd (Stefan Taylor) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly recently emerged at Glen Leraig (AS) (11/06)

Barn Owl

Single bird hunting over croft land, near Stoer primary school (Jane Livingstone) (11/06)

Scarlet Rosefinch

Single male bird appeared briefly in a garden at Clachtoll (AS) (10/06)