Drew McFarlane-Slack, Scottish Land & Estates Highland Regional Manager chaired the second MDMG stakeholder event at Tomatin and Coignafearn on Monday 6 June. Members of the local community were joined by Estate staff from across the Monadhliaths who heard a series of presentations from Dougie Campbell of Strath Caulidh Associates outlining the history of the group’s strategic deer management plan, the results of the 2015/16 deer cull and the proposals for the coming season.
Community members, keepers, stalkers and owners present were given the opportunity to address any concerns they may have regarding deer management and offer their views on those elements of the plan that most affect them. In addition to the revenues generated for estate businesses by sporting activities, there are increasing demands for public benefits to accrue to local communities and the wider public. Those present advised that they value highly the economic, social and environmental benefits but recognised that some habitats in the Monadhliaths are not in the best condition and overgrazing may well be the critical factor holding them back. Those attending praised the scale and ambition of the plan but were insistent that its delivery would be the test of its worth. After lunch we visited the blocks of fenced natural regenerating woodland and heather on Coignafearn Estate led by keeper Kenny Graham. Many thanks to the Strathdearn Community for their help and participation.
(Left to Right Dougie Campbell, Strathdearn Community Council member, Thomas MacDonell (Wildland Ltd), Matt Watson Strath-Caulidh)