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1/5/14 Energetica Walking & Wildlife Festival launches for second year

A two-day festival showcasing the stunning coastal scenery and diverse wildlife of the Energetica corridor has launched for a second year.

After last year’s success, organisers have planned even more events for this year’s Energetica Walking & Wildlife Festival, on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May.

The outdoor festival gives residents and visitors the chance to take part in a wide range of fun activities including guided walks, dolphin watching, pond dipping, puffin spotting and wildlife photography lessons. Most events are free and all are led by experts.

The family-friendly festival offers a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and experience the natural beauty and diversity that makes the Energetica corridor so special.

Energetica is a 30-mile haven for wildlife and stunning coastal scenery stretching from the Bridge of Don in Aberdeen, north to Peterhead and west to the airport. The programme aims to cement the area as Scotland’s energy corridor, thriving in a natural environment.

Festival event organisers including North-east Rangers, RSPB Scotland, SNH and wildlife conservationists gathered at Newburgh beach for the public launch of the festival today (Thursday 1 May). They were treated to a taster of the festival’s free wildlife photography sessions, run by Ian Hay of the East Coast Grampian Partnership.

Participants can choose from 20 events over the two days, covering a wide range of activities from walks exploring the stunning north-east coastline, puffin spotting at Bullers of Buchan and dolphin watching at Torry Battery.

The family-friendly festival has plenty to do for young wildlife lovers, including a Big North East Pond Dip at Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre and a hunt for Amazing Minibeasts at Pitmedden Estate.

Participants will also benefit from a 10% discount on food and drink being offered by local venues as part of the festival celebrations.

Being released in conjunction with the festival is an Energetica Walking & Wildlife Guide. The free booklet will be available from a range of venues and details fantastic walking opportunities along the Energetica corridor which can be explored throughout the year.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Economic Development, and Chair of the Energetica Lifestyle and Leisure Group, Belinda Miller, said: “Last year’s festival was a huge success, which saw most events fully booked and generated very positive feedback, and so we wanted to make this year’s event even bigger.

“The Walking & Wildlife Festival is a unique opportunity to discover the delights of the natural environment right on your doorstep. Under the guidance of our experts people can discover how much there is to see, do and learn about this stunning area.”

Energetica Programme Executive, Derek McCrindle, said: “With such a wide range of events on offer, the festival is great for families, wildlife lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and for people who want to try something new. There really is something for everyone.”

Mairi Cowan, RSPB Community Engagement Officer said: "We are delighted that RSPB Scotland’s Dolphinwatch will feature once again in the Energetica Walking & Wildlife Festival. The Dolphinwatch staff will be leading guided walks on both days of the weekend festival and are anticipating that this year will be every bit as successful as last year’s walks. We are looking forward to showcasing the wildlife seen in and around the Aberdeen Harbour area and with any luck, will be joined along our way by a bottlenose dolphin or two!"

Most events are free, but places are limited and booking is essential. For the full programme, visit www.energetica.uk.com/festival2014.

 

 

1/4/14 Surfers Against Sewage   - The Big Spring Beach Clean

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Over forty residents of Cruden Bay turned out in force to join in a national Big Spring Beach Clean which was hosted by Surfers Against Sewage. SAS are an environmental charity helping to protect the UK’s waves, oceans and beaches. As part of their nation wide campaign over 120 groups signed up to tidy beaches over the country, the event took place over the weekend 28-31st March.

Their local representative Richard Noble, (pictured 2nd left)who lives in Cruden Bay organised their event in conjunction with a few residents of Port Erroll. Richard knows just how important it is to keep beaches clean. Being a keen kite /land boarder and surfer he spends much of his time on the beach, thus became an enthusiastic supporter of SAS.   While kite boarding on a near daily basis he see’s first hand how many people neglet the sands and leave rubbish behind. There is also the ongoing problem of waste washing up on the shore which happens all year round. Part of the SAS weekend event was to encourage communities to be focusing together to take ownership of their beaches in an effort to really see the vast amount of marine litter and debris that is being washed up on our shore line.

Cruden Bay Beach, one of the most spectacular beaches in the North East, has been lucky in that is has been regularly tended by enthusiasts over the years.   There has been a long history of local beach cleaning, local resident Willie Mearns, in his eighties  cleaned the beach of litter every day in all weathers for many years and the tradition continues with a small handful of locals’s who go out in an ad hoc basis.

Last winter’s storms and their associated tidal surges left many beaches including Cruden Bay inundated with litter and debris.   It was timely that this concentrated effort took place, ready for local people and visitors/tourists to enjoy its beauty over the summer months.

Everyone who supported this event, felt that the whole community was pulling together to keep their beach beautiful. The sands and sea are for everyone and for every age, this event gave locals a chance to see just how important it is to have a regular clean. Among articles picked up on this occasion were drums,nets, cans, plastic and glass bottles,boards containing nails, needles,articles of clothing and two television sets!

The event was sponsored by local businesses and organisations. Many thanks go to Cruden Bay Golf Club and it’s greenkeepers for the uplift and disposal of collected rubbish;   the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel for donating most welcomed “post beach” drinks and burgers; Peterhead  Air Cadets who pitched in and provided much appreciated man power and enthusiasm and to SITA for donating bags and gloves. Also to Aberdeenshire Council as part of its Clean Scotland campaign for donating the litter pickers.

The whole event was more than a beach clean, it was a great day out and a wonderful example of a village pulling together to get things done.

Jill Cantlay McWilliam