Arran Banner letters – week 1

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Improving nature


Scotland is world-renowned for its incredible landscapes and varied wildlife: earlier this year, the readers of Rough Guide voted ours the most beautiful country in the world.

But it’s important to remember our stunning vistas do so much more than simply bring us joy. Nature-based tourism benefits our economy, and nature benefits each of us personally: research shows access to green spaces improves our health and well-being.

At Scottish Natural Heritage, we have long extolled the benefits we all get from the natural environment as well as the need to create better places for nature.

Over the past year, we have worked on a number of high-profile initiatives to help connect people with nature and protect our wildlife and habitats.

We continue to lead the development of the national cycling and walking metwork to encourage people to enjoy the countryside and to help bring more tourists to Scotland.

To help improve Scotland’s carbon stores, we restored 400ha of peatlands under the peatland action programme. These areas are also home to many of our well-known plants and animals.

Looking ahead, the Scottish Government has designated 2018 the Year of Young People.

It’s so important to provide our young people with access to nature. Research shows childhood access to green space can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression as adults. Early and continuing contact with nature also helps develop and maintain a sense of stewardship and an interest in looking after our natural assets.

That’s why we’ve just launched the future routes fund to encourage youth across the country to share ideas that will help young people engage with nature. Working with Young Scot, we will help develop their ideas and bring them to life in the coming year.


You can find ideas for getting involved with nature in your community on our new website,

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Mike Cantlay


Scottish Natural Heritage

Gaelic course


Today there is a new ground-breaking Moray Language Centre Gaelic acquisition course that is very different from any existing second language learning course which is called the learning Gaelic on your own course.

Added to which, to make learning even more appealing and accessible for a student, the course comes with a set of clear cut and user friendly guidelines that offer help and support for the entire learning journey. For example, problems and solutions, questions and answers, self assessment, performance indicators, measurable language usage, equipment etc, are all covered within its remit.

The course has a number of other unique facets besides those listed above, such as: students having the freedom to create their own individual work pattern and learning pace. The source material being BBC Gaelic programmes, means that they can be recorded from anywhere in the world on a computer, iPad or smart phone. And, though largely studying on their own, a student is never alone, backup, contacts and suggestions are all readily available.

This course is one of the few language courses that not only recognises various Gaelic dialects found in Scotland but also embraces them. Also mentioned are the various sites in Scotland that have some 40,000 hours of recorded Gaelic dialect related material for a student to peruse.

Taking a learning Gaelic on your own course may provide the ideal solution for those whoa are either house bound, though still seeking a Gaelic conversational fluency, or for a variety of reasons, such as family commitments; one may have two or three young children to look after; limited mobility, course costs, location; there are many more reasons, but these give some idea of the course’s value and potential client group range.

If any of the above information strikes a chord of interest and a project you may consider undertaking, please contact me, at or telephone 01542 836322 whereupon we can discuss the course and at the same time,I can offer more detail regarding its contents, delivery and follow up direction.


F M Macleod



This touching image of the youngest and oldest residents of Lochranza enjoying a recent Christmas carol concert was kindly sent into us by Ethne Cumming. Peggy is nearly 102 and Archie is two weeks old. No_B52letters02