A View from Down Under

The following was received by email from a supporter of our campaign in Australia and is reproduced with her full permission:

“I am a descendant from a Chisholm family which originally resided in this area. As an Australian I regularly visit the traditional homelands of my Chisholm Clan and each time I thoroughly enjoy and treasure the beauty, ambience, culture and history of this area more than anywhere else in the world. It is such a truly special place to so many people. Glen Affric and Strathglass are known throughout the world for their outstanding natural beauty (Glen Affric and Strathglass, brochure by Strathglass Marketing Group, 2003).

Although the hydroelectric system was set up in the midst of my traditional clan area, I believe that it has brought some advantages. I also have always been proud of the fact that its forestry has received special attention and the Caledonian pinewood was fenced off and protected. Although some of the traditional historic area was covered with water, what remains is of immense value. I have been proud of your achievements and shared these sentiments with many others.

The value of the work undertaken to date is extremely relevant to the local and broader community.  Its importance in terms of the value of the tourism dollar, the protection of the wilderness in the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve, walks and Munros for which this area is known worldwide as well as the Special Protection Area for wild eagles must definitely not be underestimated or tossed aside for economic gain by a profit driven organisation.

I carried home from one of my visits a brochure about the Glen Affric area. It states:
You will tread in the steps of the people who have lived here for aeons, who have harvested the woodlands, herded cattle and sheep, fished the waters and made their own whisky. You still see where plantings of spruce have given way to native Scots pines and where the pent-up power of the lochs light the lives of far-off people. This is where Bonnie Prince Charlie hid after Culloden, where Clan Chisholm ruled until the land was given over to stalking and shooting, and where the wild red deer roam and watch today’s visitors……One colour dominates, the reddish pink of the Scots pine trunks, the fox, the deer, the squirrel, the pine marten and the chests of the bullfinches……The wooded islands of the lochs come straight out of a Fairytale. (Forestry Commission brochure, Scotland – West Highlands 2008)

Another brochure stated:
The soar of the eagle, osprey and buzzard along with the chatter of rare crested tits and Scottish crossbills are some of the delights which can be found amongst the 80 or so varieties of birds resident in our National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and Glen Affric and Strathfarrar, as well as in the RSPB reserve at Corrimony (Strathglass Marketing Group brochure, 2003). A brochure produced by the Highland Council and the Highlands of Scotland Tourism Board  stated: Glen Affric is home to some of the rarest dragonflies in Europe.

We should be doing all within our power to conserve the natural environment of this unique part  of the world. It is a treasure that should be protected not abused.”

Kim Polley OAM (Longford, Tasmania, Australia)