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Could Ben Wyvis be at heart of Scotland's newest national park?


By John Davidson

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An Cabar on Ben Wyvis from the Allt a' Bhealaich Mhoir. Picture: John Davidson
An Cabar on Ben Wyvis from the Allt a' Bhealaich Mhoir. Picture: John Davidson

Ben Wyvis is at the centre of a bid to become Scotland’s newest national park.

A team based in the area is proposing a huge swathe of land across the Highlands to be included in the Ben Wyvis and Glen Affric national park.

The Scottish Government has vowed to designate at least one new national park by the end of the current parliamentary session in 2026. Nominations are being sought with a deadline of the end of February this year.

The Ben Wyvis and Glen Affric proposal is separate to the Glen Affric and Loch Ness bid being taken forward by Strathglass Community Council and another from Wester Ross which also overlaps some of the same ground.

Dan Bailey, on behalf of the Ben Wyvis and Glen Affric bid team, said national park status would bring benefits and opportunities for the area, including around Dingwall, Strathpeffer, Contin, Strathconon, Garve and the wider Ben Wyvis area.

He said: “We believe that the Ben Wyvis area, with its outstanding scenery, varied habitats, and rich heritage and culture, deserves the recognition of national park status, and that local residents, businesses and the environment could all benefit immensely from it.

“Three different but overlapping nominations may be submitted in this region of the Highlands: Affric and Loch Ness; Wester Ross; and our own Ben Wyvis and Glen Affric proposal.

Dan Bailey is calling for the area to be considered for Scotland's next national park. Picture: James Mackenzie
Dan Bailey is calling for the area to be considered for Scotland's next national park. Picture: James Mackenzie

“Following nominations, the Scottish Government will conduct further rounds of consultation to determine the final boundary and make-up of any successful national park bids, and in the case of this area may consider the possible amalgamation of the different visions into a single entity.

“We believe that national park status offers an exciting chance for our local communities to work with a range of partners to look after our amazing natural environment while also creating new opportunities to boost employment and quality of life for the people who live and work in this area.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance for us to take an active role in determining how things happen here.”

The local bid team are now asking people to share their views on the proposal through a short online survey here.

A letter from the group showing interest in principle was submitted to the Scottish Government last year and it is now working with consultants to progress the bid.

The proposed boundary of the national park.
The proposed boundary of the national park.

Public drop-in sessions are planned at a number of local venues in the near future, with dates and locations to be confirmed.

More information on the bid can be found at www.affric2alladale.org

Mr Bailey added: “The Scottish Government will only progress to the next stage of consultation if a national park nomination can demonstrate interest in the local community. Feedback on both the perceived benefits and any concerns you may have about National Park status will help steer the proposal we submit.”


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