Loch Stiapabhat: Local Nature Reserve: An internationally important site for wildlife!
Spring is coming, and soon the migrating birds will be stopping off at Loch Stiapabhat, and the surrounding area, before heading on to Iceland, Greenland and other destinations north of us. Some of the birds that have over-wintered here will be moving on, and others will arrive to nest around Loch Stiapabhat, and on the cliffs, shore, moor and machair all around us. North Lewis is remarkable for its bird life, and many people travel here to experience what we can see every day.
Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (UOG) own and is responsible for Loch Stiapabhat, which is the only designated Local Nature Reserve in the whole of the Outer Hebrides. The new observatery, closer to the loch, and more accessible than its predecessor, is a wonderful resource for everyone to use. It provides shelter and the opportunity to watch birds without them being aware of a human presence. UOG is really keen to encourage everyone to take advantage of this. As well as birds, there are often otters to be seen, and the plant life is also very important.
A programme of talks and walks around the local area will be announced soon, with opportunities to learn more about our fantastic wild life and Loch Stiapabhat’s importance, locally and internationally.
As well as working with organisations such as RSPB and SNH, UOG has set up an Advisory Group to help it manage the reserve appropriately. This group has no responsibilities for the site, but meets a maximum of four times a year to advise UOG on issues such as working with the local community, ensuring that it meets its obligations as the owner of such an important site, and getting the balance right between the wildlife and the crofters who work around the site.
UOG would love to recruit on to the advisory group young people (school age) and anyone who is an active crofter in any of the townships close to Loch Stiapabhat. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 01851 850393
Details of the walks and talks coming up will be detailed on UOG’s website www.galsontrust.com