Douglas MacQueen's blog

Condemnation as scallop dredger wrecks rare flame shell reef off the west coast of Scotland

A rare flame shell reef off the west coast of Scotland has been 'devastated' by a scallop dredger. The Loch Carron reef near Plockton (Scottish Gaelic:Am Ploc) was intensively dredged on two occasions in an act of devastation that could take decades to recover.  Flame shells live hidden on the seabed inside nests built from shells, stones and other materials around them. Many hundreds of these nests can combine to form a dense bed, raising and stabilising the seabed. This then attracts many other creatures.

Scottish SPCA rescue leverets

Four baby hares have been rescued by Scottish SPCA (Scotland's Animal Welfare Charity) from a garden in Kelso (Scottish Gaelic: Cealsaidh) a market town in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. A hare that is less than one year old is called a leveret and the ones found were about a week-old. Hares bear their young in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form.

A promise of magic at Orkney Folk Festival 25 - 28 May 2017

Orkney Folk Festival takes place on 25 - 28 May 2017. There can be few more wonderful locations for a Festival than Orkney. Orkney (Scottish Gaelic: Arcaibh. Norse: Orkneyjar) is an archipelago situated off the north coast of Scotland. Orkney is made up of approximately 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited and the largest island is Mainland. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall. Orkney is a place of great beauty that has been inhabited since Mesolithic times.

Major street art festival under way in Aberdeen

Nuart Aberdeen is taking place this Easter weekend. Inspired by Nuart that has taken place in Stavangar, Norway since 2001, this major street art festival in Aberdeen is on from Friday 14 – Sunday 16 April. Developed in collaboration with Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, Nuart Aberdeen aims to provide a platform for local, national and international artists to showcase their work through a series of site-specific murals, installations, interventions, and temporary exhibitions. Large and small images have been appearing on city buildings in recent days.

New poll shows continued strong support for Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister is the only domestic politician with a positive approval rating in Scotland, according to a new poll. The Scottish sample found that 53% of respondents viewed Nicola Sturgeon’s performance above the rating of 50 out of 100, giving the SNP leader an +11% net approval rating. The poll by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft asked respondents to rate politicians from one-100, with zero meaning “terrible” and 100 equalling “excellent”. Respondents north of the border placed Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson well below 50 out of 100 with a rating of -21%.

Unicorn as the symbol of Scotland in heraldry

The Royal Coat of arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the King of Scots from its adoption in the 12th century. Two unicorns are featured on the coat of arms and in heraldry this legendary animal is best known as the symbol of Scotland. In Celtic mythology, the Unicorn of Scotland is said to symbolise bravery, innocence, purity, healing powers, pride, intelligence, joy and virility. 

Trust agrees deal to purchase historic Scottish headquarters of Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bannockburn House, which was built in the 17th century, has been said by some to retain the haunting presence of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, (31 December 1720 – 31 January 1788) The Young Pretender, affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie was the grandson of James VII of Scotland and had led the second Jacobite Uprising of 1745 to overthrow King George II. He spent time in Bannockburn House, near Stirling, in 1745 when gathering support for the Jacobite cause.

Scotland's First Minister signs climate agreement with California

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signed a joint agreement with the governor of California, Jerry Brown committing them to work together on climate change. They met for talks in Sacramento during a five-day visit to the United States that the First Minister is undertaking. World Wildlife Fund's US senior vice president of climate change and energy, Lou Leonard, said:

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, embarks on five-day visit to the United States

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is undertaking a five-day visit to the United States. She has been invited to give a speech at Stanford University during her trip on Scotland's place in the world. The first minister also has a meeting scheduled with Governor of California Jerry Brown to discuss climate change. This has been welcomed by environmentalists.

National Museums Scotland buys Fettercairn Jewel

The Fettercairn Jewel has been described as a rare and outstanding piece of Scottish Renaissance jewellery. Now the 16th Century Scottish jewel has been bought at auction at Sotheby’s by National Museums Scotland (NMS) for more than £200,000 and its future in Scotland has been secured. David Forsyth, principal curator of the Scottish history and archaeology department at National Museums Scotland said: "The purchase of this piece will significantly enhance the national collections and present new insights into the magnificence of the Renaissance in Scotland."

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