Posted by: Ross Gardner | June 17, 2017

The Big Trip visits Beaver Country

Loch of Lowes (scaled)

Loch of Lowes, Perth and Kinross. Ross Gardner 2017.

The first port of call heading north out of Edinburgh was the Loch of Lowes.  The Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve here is justly well-known for its breeding Osprey, which indeed was a principle reason for our visit.  When chatting with a member of staff at the visitor centre we were somewhat surprised to hear that, along with a wealth of other wildlife, there are Beaver here too!

The formally indigenous Eurasian Beaver has been reintroduced to Scotland (as well as parts of Devon), after 500 year absences, having been hunted to extinction in the 16th Century.  Despite some concerns over negative environmental impacts as regards tree damage and flooding as a result of their dam-building activities, following an extensive trial they have been officially welcomed onto the British mammals list.  Their effects on the countryside are actually potentially hugely beneficial.  The gnawing and felling of trees is essentially one of nature’s own ways of coppicing and can favourable modify the wider landscape by helping to naturally create diverse habitats for wildlife.  Also, the dams which they build can help to moderate water flow and help to ameliorate the risk of flooding for human populations down-river.  There are apparently  now some 200 living happily in the Tayside area of Scotland, with others elsewhere in the country.

Imagine our delighted surprise when we managed to lay eyes on one of these huge rodents as it swam across the lock that evening.  We resolved to return again early next morning and were reward again for our 5 o’clock start with even better views close to the hide.  It was just a shame that in my continued getting used to the new camera I had it, without realising, on the wrong setting and so the photos aren’t what they might have been.  But hey-ho, it’s all about the experience – the pics are really just a bonus.

Castor fiber

Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber) at Loch of Lowes. Ross Gardner 2017.


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