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Plans revealed for autumn eagle festival

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By Abbey Morton
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Plans revealed  for autumn  eagle festival

A FESTIVAL to celebrate the region’s golden eagle population is taking shape.

And the event in Moffat this autumn will be the UK’s first ever Golden Eagle Festival.

Delivering the keynote speech will be one of the country’s leading wildlife film makers, Gordon Buchanan.

The festival has been launched by a pioneering conservation charity initiative, and will take place between September 19 and 26.

Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, it will be led by The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project and celebrate Moffat becoming Scotland’s first ‘Eagle Town’.

The title was awarded to the town for the role the community has played in helping the groundbreaking conservation project to address low numbers of golden eagles in the south of Scotland.

Gordon will deliver his speech about golden eagles and other Scottish wildlife on Friday September 24.

He said: “I’m delighted to be part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project’s first ever Golden Eagle Festival and to support their important conservation work to ensure golden eagles once again flourish in southern skies.

“The thrill of seeing a golden eagle soaring over a Scottish hillside is an unbeatable experience. Each glimpse of this magical bird is special, but they should and could be more common in the south of Scotland.”

The full festival programme will be revealed later in the year and will include events and activities delivered by a range of leading wildlife groups including RSPB Scotland, NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, Wild Eskdale, and the Scottish Raptor Study Group. There will even be a workshop delivered by a leading wildlife photographer.

Welcoming their town’s role in supporting the project and hosting the festival, chairman of Visit Moffat Leys Geddes said: “Less than a mile from the motorway, we are ideally situated to become Scotland’s First Eagle Town, to host the first Eagle Festival, and to celebrate the golden eagle – one of Scotland’s most iconic species.

“The Moffat Hills are often described as mini-Highlands, owing to our 300 square kilometres of hills, outstanding scenery and rich wildlife, so the perfect area for golden eagles to thrive. It would be wonderful to ensure they become a regular sighting for visitors to the area.”

Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Caroline Clark, called the festival an ‘exciting new addition’ to Scotland’s wildlife calendar.

And she said: “It’s yet another innovative way in which The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project is helping communities learn about this awe-inspiring bird of prey and the role it plays in Scotland’s biodiversity.

“Thanks to funding from players of the National Lottery, not only will the festival bring new visitors to discover this beautiful part of Scotland, but it will help safeguard the golden eagle’s existence for future generations.”

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