Loch Stiapabhat Nature Observatory officially opened to public

Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Roy Dennie MBE
Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Roy Dennie MBE

The Nature Observatory at Loch Stiapabhat Local Nature Reserve in Ness is a fantastic new facility and on Saturday, April 12th, officially opened its doors – or should that be its boardwalk – to the public.

Roy Dennis MBE was invited to speak at a short brunch event in Ness before those in attendance grabbed their boots, scopes and jackets and made their way to the loch for the opening of the new observatory.

The event was opened by Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and guests heard a little about the project from Urras Manager Lisa Maclean, who explained that the project was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, LEADER, RSPB and the John Muir Trust; and it was constructed through a local employment scheme run by the local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Lisa said: “This project is the result of some excellent teamwork and we are thrilled to have been able to secure the funds to put this new observatory in place.

“The OH-MEET scheme who built the observatory and boardwalk deserve huge praise for their dedication through all weathers. The result is great and this observatory will no doubt last for years!”

Roy Dennis, who formally opened the observatory, is a well-known ornithologist and wildlife consultant who has worked in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since 1959, most notably on the conservation of rare birds, ecological restoration and the reintroduction of lost species, such as White-tailed Eagle and Red Kite.
He is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster and at the opening event he spoke very positively about the work that has been undertaken at Loch Stiapabhat.

Roy said: “I am very impressed with the new building; it’s very well constructed and perfect for people to enjoy the loch and its wildlife.

“I’m sure it will be used by locals and visitors as a great place to watch local birds, like nesting redshanks and lapwings, and the wonderful array of migratory birds which drop in at the loch.”

He added: “I had a couple visits and there’s no doubt I’ll be back. It’s a valuable addition for eco-tourism in Lewis.”

The Nature Observatory is now open to the public and the Trust have launched a series of Spring/Summer events. For more information, visit www.glasontrust.com