Easter Ross firm uses specialist machinery on ‘crucial’ peatland project


A project to restore peatlands at the Rum National Nature Reserve (NNR) is bringing ‘quick results’, NatureScotland has said.

The project at Kinloch Glen was recently completed, with it seeing more than 17 hectares of peatland habitat being put on the road to restoration and more than 10 kilometres of man-made ditches being blocked to reduce their draining effect and help restore natural processes.

Easter Ross-based Highland Conservation Ltd carried out the works, with the drains being blocked every 10 metres using specialist machinery to minimise the damage to the bog surface.

NatureScot explained that peatlands, or areas dominated by peat, cover more than 20% of Scotland – meaning much of the country’s drinking water flows through these catchments, meaning healthy peatlands are ‘crucial’ for drinking water quality at source.

Furthermore, peatlands also hold ‘most’ of Scotland’s land-based carbon store. The organisation explained that peatlands are estimated to hold the equivalent of 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Lesley Watt, NatureScot’s Rum NNR manager, said, “We were really keen to restore this area of peatland to improve the condition of the habitats on Rum. It’s amazing to see how quickly the water pools behind the new peat dams. We are looking forward to the dragonflies and damselflies hovering around these new pools in the summer.

“This area is close to the main track onto the NNR, so a walk up the glen is a good way to see this peatland restoration and also golden eagles and red-throated divers, both of which breed in good numbers on the reserve.”