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• 50 years of Forvie National Nature Reserve • Cruden Bay – business bites back • Get out and cook • From quay to table

Newsletter Autumn/Winter 09


A word from our Chairman I’m very pleased to say that in this copy of our Newsletter we are able to announce that our “State of the East Grampian Coast” report is now becoming available for all to read. This new report looks at the state and condition of the East Grampian Coast and has aimed for the first time to gather information on social, economic and environmental issues along the East Grampian coast all the way from Fraserburgh to St Cyrus. A healthy marine and coastal environment helps to maintain ecosystems as well as providing us with employment opportunities, carbon storage, research and education, a natural sea defence, leisure, recreation and tourism opportunities, transportation of goods and people, sustaining biodiversity; and acting as a method of waste disposal. The report by East Grampian Coastal Partnership gives a snapshot of the coast in 2009 and will be used as a template to identify opportunities for future work and to monitor the changes that take place on the coast in the coming years. It is hoped the findings of this report will be of interest to local stakeholders and decision makers as well as people that live or have an interest in the area. The report will shortly be available online on the East Grampian Coastal Partnership website, on CD and a limited number of hard copies will be available upon request to view in locations in the area.

... we have had a fantastic year thanks to a growing team of volunteers.

PARTNERSHIP NEWS

The project was set up to collect data on cetacean occurrence and distribution in the northern North Sea between Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland in summer 2002. Since then the project has expanded greatly, and once again we have had a fantastic year thanks to a growing team of volunteers.We have had some great sightings this year including bottlenose dolphins, porpoise, minke whale, white beaked dolphin, killer whales and common dolphins as well as lots of birds, jellyfish and other wildlife. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers for all their hard work this year; it is much appreciated and without you the project would not be able to continue-thank you!

Minke whale

This is just a start to the work-load to be undertaken by EGCP over the next couple of years and it is also an important foundation for the work that will be required in establishing our Scottish Marine Bill as well as it’s governing body, Marine Scotland. We have undertaken a great deal of environmental consideration over the last 5 years and we must now ensure that we link this with both social and economic factors, in order to offer a complete Integrated Coastal Zone Management policy, which will play an important part in future coastal sustainability. I hope you find the rest of the content of the Newsletter useful and interesting and that you will contact us if you have any queries about our work and our future programme.Your input is always welcome. Robbie Middleton Chairman EGCP

Photo: Nick Picozzi

‘a big bull orca-came across the bow and right down the side of the boat’ Robin B Middleton Chairman - EGCP

MARINE BILL UPDATE The Marine (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 29 April 2009. The bill introduces changes to manage growing and competing demands for the use of marine resources in the seas around Scotland, balancing environmental and socio-economic considerations whilst maximising economic growth.

‘It’s been well exciting; minke whales, porpoises and white beaked dolphins!’ ‘We saw 3 minke, 30+ porpoise, 40+ white beaked dolphins and a few bottlenose dolphins’

Evidence will be heard by the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee during the summer of 2009, which will be followed by further detailed consideration and debate and if agreed, the then Act is due to receive Royal Assent in November 2009, thus becoming law.

NORCET We have had another successful year of cetacean surveys as part of the Northern North Sea Cetacean Ferry Surveys (NORCET). The surveys are part of a joint project between researchers at the University of Aberdeen, the East Grampian Coastal Partnership and the South Grampian Seawatch Group.

Photo: Simon Whitworth

Sunset over Orkney


This year, as part of our ongoing work to tackle coastal litter in the area, we have organised and taken part in a number of beach cleans most notably along Greyhope Bay and Nigg Bay in Aberdeen. Cleaning up rubbish may not be everyone’s idea of a fun Saturday but it really is rewarding, seeing all those bags heaped up after a morning’s hard work. From everyone at EGCP I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have helped make our beaches a better place for everyone!

Nigg Bay beach clean

Council.The current system of locally important and protected sites which were identified in the 1970’s, are recognized as Sites of Interest to Natural Science (SINS) but it is considered that a review of this system is now required.

These sites make a considerable contribution to the biodiversity resource ...

BEACH CLEANS 2009

In line with new guidance, sites of local and regional importance for their biodiversity and geological value will be selected as Local Nature Conservation Sites. These sites make a considerable contribution to the biodiversity resource and add to the quality of the local environment as well as providing education opportunities. For more information please contact; Judith Cox, Environment Planner (South), Aberdeenshire Council Tel 01467 628002 e-mail judith.cox@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

ST CYRUS NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE Andy Turner, Reserve Manager, St Cyrus NNR

Aberdeen Harbour clean up

St Cyrus National Nature Reserve (NNR) lies on the south Aberdeenshire coast, around 5 miles north of Montrose. The Reserve comprises 92 hectares of mixed coastal habitat. Towering volcanic cliffs and yellow dunes enclose a spectacular wildflower meadow that supports a number of rare plants and insects.

Towering volcanic cliffs and yellow dunes enclose a spectacular wildflower meadow ...

If you would like to take part in future clean ups please get in touch.

The view from the cliff top at the northern end of the reserve reveals the magnificent sandy sweep of Montrose Bay, bisected by the River North Esk. The river marks the boundary between Angus to the south and Aberdeenshire to the north. On a fine day it can be argued that it’s one of the most picturesque sections of coastline in north-east Scotland. A restoration project is underway to clean up and regenerate contaminated landfill sites in Aberdeen. The £15 million venture by Aberdeen City Council will clean the city’s Ness Farm and Tullos Hill landfill sites to minimise the environmental harm they cause and restore the land to provide a wildlife and recreational area for local residents. Included in the three year long programme of work are path upgrades and new information boards describing the site’s archaeology, wildlife and history.

DESIGNATED SITE REVIEW Aberdeenshire Council is undertaking a review of sites of local and regional importance for biodiversity and geodiversity in association with Scottish Natural Heritage and Aberdeen City

WORK UNDERWAY AT LOCAL LANDFILLS

... it can be argued that it’s one of the most picturesque sections ...

The visitor centre at St Cyrus – housed in an old lifeboat station - receives around 15,000 visitors each year from all over the world. Regular visitors to St Cyrus NNR will have noticed some new arrivals for 2009 in the shape of 15 highland cattle. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) who manage the Reserve has enlisted the help of a pedigree herd of Highlanders to transform an area of rank grassland in the south of the Reserve to a flourishing wildflower and insect rich meadow. By grazing


... the only known record of the micro moth Lobesia abscisana on the Scottish mainland ...

The new arrivals

Lobesia abscisana on the Scottish mainland - discovered by Brian Stewart and Dr Mark Young during a moth night event held at the Reserve in 2007. St Cyrus NNR is also home to over 65 different species of breeding birds and 244 species of flowering plants. Visitors can learn more by visiting our website at www.nnr-scotland. org.uk or by calling in at the visitor centre.

... the cattle will bring light, water and nutrients to the ground ...

The pedigree cattle are owned by Mr Rowland Robertson of Pitgarvie Farm, Luthermuir, who visits the Reserve regularly to check on their condition.

... have already made an impact, with a significantly reduced vegetation height ...

SNH have tried grassland burning and cutting techniques in the past with limited success. Following their introduction in April 2009 the cattle have already made an impact, with a significantly reduced vegetation height inside the cattle enclosure compared to outside, and several wildflower species flourishing! The cattle will graze the area throughout the summer months, until being removed in the autumn and reintroduced again in early spring 2010.

... home to over 65 different species of breeding birds ...

away the rank grasses the cattle will bring light, water and nutrients to the ground, at the same time their hooves help to disturb the soil enabling suppressed wildflowers and dormant seeds to grow.

Lovers of human history might be interested in the recent mysterious discovery of a French military rifle on the reserve. The rifle which dates from 1880 was discovered in a sea cave at the northern end of the Reserve in 2008, and has recently been returned to SNH by the National War Museum in Edinburgh. The wooden stock and the trigger mechanism are missing however the barrel is in excellent condition and Reserve staff have recently managed to get the bolt action working again. The rifle is a Fusil Modele 1874 Gras, manufactured in the town of Saint Etienne, near Lyon in south eastern France. It’s a single shot, bolt-action weapon with a bayonet fitting - typical of military rifles from the late 19th century up until the 1960s. This particular design was only used by the French army for around a decade, it also saw service with the Greek army, and many years later with resistance fighters in the Second World War.

The public are permitted to walk through the area but dog walkers may wish to walk elsewhere. The large flocks of swallows and house martins present in the southern end of the Reserve are evidently enjoying the feast of insects attracted to the area as a result of cattle dunging, while butterflies and moths or lepidpotera as they are collectively known seem to be equally plentiful in 2009. The completion of a new checklist by moth enthusiast Brian Stewart has identified almost 400 different species to be present on the reserve, making it a very important site in both a local and national context. Some of the species recorded are rare, such as the small blue butterfly which feeds on the yellow flowered kidney vetch plant that grows on the Reserve. The list also includes the only known record of the micro moth

Rifle found at St Cyrus Staff at the National War Museum are at a loss to explain how the rifle came to be in the cave, which is regularly inundated by the tide. A display case is currently being made for the rifle, which will find a new home in the SNH visitor centre at St Cyrus. If anyone has any information on how the rifle came to be in the cave SNH would love to hear from you on 01674 830736.


Annabel Drysdale, Reserve Manager, Forvie NNR One of the jewels of the North East coast is celebrating its golden anniversary this year. The Sands of Forvie, between the Ythan Estuary and Collieston have been part of one of Scotland’s most popular National Nature Reserves (NNRs) for 50 years.

One of the jewels of the North East coast ...

Following the introduction of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, the Nature Conservancy declared the Sands of Forvie as a nature reserve on 22 January 1959. An area of around 1700 acres of Slains Estate, which belonged

... the Ythan estuary is also contributing to our understanding of climate change ... Archaeological investigations have taken place at Forvie village, lost to the dunes after the 15th century and at late Neolithic and early Bronze Age village sites within the NNR.

Sunset over the Ythan Estuary

Much of the early days of the NNR were characterised by academic research, which continues to be an important use of the reserve today. Botanical excursions, bird monitoring and sand dune surveys are still common. Today the Ythan estuary is also contributing to our understanding of climate change as scientists at the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab monitor temperature and salinity on a daily basis.

50 YEARS OF FORVIE NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE

... regarded as one of Scotland’s great natural assets ...

to Sir Ian Walker-Okeover at that time, was regarded as one of Scotland’s great natural assets which would allow nature conservation and scientific research to flourish. In 1979, the Ythan estuary from the mouth at Newburgh to Logie Buchan was added and in 2003, Scottish Natural Heritage purchased most of the reserve, securing it for future generations. When Forvie became the 20th National Nature Reserve for Scotland, it joined a list of important wildlife and landscape sites such sites as Beinn Eighe, St Kilda and the Isle of May.

Sand dunes on the reserve

Photo: Catriona Reid

The future of the reserve places nature conservation at the fore, but opportunities for people to learn about the outdoors and nature are also important. Planning and provision of

Forvie is well placed as a site to achieve this and is looking forward to another 50 years ...

Photo: Lorne Gill, SNH

information for visitors will be vital to manage the balance between human activities and wildlife in years to come. However, Forvie is well placed as a site to achieve this and is looking forward to another golden 50 years and beyond!


LONGHAVEN CLIFFS WILDLIFE RESERVE Rab Potter, Reserve Manager

Longhaven Cliff Wildlife Reserve is a narrow 4 km long strip of coastline. It lies on granite which has given rise to cliffs 30-60m in height that have eroded into a spectacular coastline of headlands, deep inlets, stacks, arches and steep cliff faces.

... have eroded into a spectacular coastline of headlands, deep inlets, stacks ...

... internationally important numbers of kittiwates and guillemots.

The narrow cliff-top zone contains varied plant communities with a number of plants unusual to the north east of Scotland, including devil’s-bit scabious and grass of Parnassus. Looking out over the water one can often see seals basking on rocky outcrops just offshore, and occasionally dolphins, porpoises and even minke whales have been spotted!

The Longhaven coast

Photo: Rab Potter

We hope in the near future to upgrade this track and make the reserve more accessible to all groups of visitors. Further information can be obtained from our website www. swt.org.uk or by contacting the Reserves Manager North East on rpotter@swt.org.uk

A READERS TALE FROM NEWBURGH…… Grace Banks It was a day of boredom when I suggested to a lethargic family we go to see the seal pups at Newburgh; reluctantly Josh responded.

Granite used to be quarried here many years ago and the remains of the old quarry operations can still be seen today. The cliffs provide nesting sites for internationally important numbers of kittiwakes and guillemots. Other bird species present include fulmars, razorbills and puffins.

... the reflections on the water were lovely ...

It had been a very long time since I had been down to the estuary and although it wasn’t great weather, the reflections on the water were lovely and the eiders were all calling; we began to cheer up.

Photo: Rab Potter

The reserve is around 4 miles south of Peterhead and 2 miles north of Cruden Bay (OS Grid Ref Sheet 30 NK 116395) and is most easily accessed from our car park at the northern edge of “Ennstone Thistles” Blackhills Quarry Access Track at the northern end of the village of Longhaven. From the car-park, (NK 114394) sign posts direct visitors onto a rough track along the coastline. This track is very close to the cliff edge in places and great care must be taken along the track. Stout footwear is a must for all visitors. The track ends near a lay-by on the main A90 trunk road

The Longhaven Reserve

I was peering ahead to see if there were any seal pups on the other side when I saw something on the sand ahead, I thought a dog, running into the water. I raised the binoculars - it was a roe deer speedily swimming across the Ythan. The seals on the far bank weren’t best pleased and two of the bulls went for the deer. So it swerved course and hopping out the far side, the graceful rust brown creature sped off across the sand towards the distant dunes.

... a roe deer speedily swimming across the Ythan.

It was a lovely sight and well pleased, we had a good explore around. But Josh was bored, so I left him to wander on his own while I rounded the dunes to make my way back to the mouth of the estuary.


As I looked seaward, I saw a buzzard fly in; I turned and signalled to a trailing son.Terns were dive-bombing and screaming at the predator and the seals became very restless as the bird landed just beyond where they were grouped.

COASTAL PLANT TRAINING DAY AT RATTRAY HEAD

Excitedly, we peered through the binoculars.

At the beginning of the summer on 13 June, the first of four biological training days funded by a grant from the East Grampian Coastal Partnership was held at Rattray Head near St. Fergus. These training days are organised by the North East Scotland Biological Records Centre (NESBReC) in order to educate people in the identification of various types of wildlife and to encourage wildlife recording across the North East of Scotland. In addition, a wider appreciation of the biodiversity of the coast is gained.

“It’s like a vulture Josh!” I said, and at that moment the bird effortlessly lifted off the ground……its wingspan like a barn door! “Eagle! Eagle!” I began to jump up and down totally excited and as quickly as we could the pair of us moved closer to watch the amazing sight. No wonder the terns were going demented and even the eider raft was skimming in the other direction!

Glenn Roberts, NESBReC Manager

... we watched this great sea eagle soar above us, its great wings hardly moving.

For ten minutes we watched this great sea eagle soar above us, its great wings hardly moving. I have never seen anything quite so awe inspiring. And the magnificent bird appeared completely unfazed by the havoc he was causing below. A buzzard happened to fly in and I had to laugh at me thinking the eagle was one as we watched the much smaller bird soar alongside the eagle for a while!

Attendees looking at the characteristics of Curved Sedge at Rattray Head This first event focused on coastal plants and was led by Ian Green who is a local vice county recorder for the Botanical Society of the British Isles. The attendees were of differing levels of experience in plant identification, from beginners upwards. What they all had in common was a keen interest in knowing more about the native plants that are present on our coastline.

“ “

A sight to be savoured in memory for a long time to come!

Thanks for those involved in the sea eagle reintroduction programme who have made sightings of this great creature on the east coast a possibility again. If you have a tale you would like to share, please contact us.

The area at Rattray Head is a dune system with a network of mobile and fixed dunes with some fine damp dune slacks. All together, a total of 55 different plant species were encountered on the day. Not all of these were restricted to purely coastal habitats, of course. However, there were some purely coastal species and some which were actually quite rare either locally or nationally.

Apparently this eagle was tagged and was a young one, with not much white on it (so someone with a very posh camera told me!). I took shots but what came out does an injustice to the great bird that soared 20 feet above our heads. A sight to be savoured in memory for a long time to come!

A sea eagle at Newburgh

... with a network of mobile and fixed dunes with some fine damp dune slacks.

... some which were actually quite rare either locally or nationally.


In another, much wetter and larger dune slack, there was a fantastic amount of orchids. These were of two different species. The first was the most common orchid in North-East Scotland, Dactylorhiza purpurella (northern marsh orchid). This species has flowers which are usually a dark pink-purple and can be seen in a variety of wet grassland types. The second type was Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. incarnata (early marsh orchid) which is not very common in this area and has flowers that are usually flesh pink in colour but other subspecies can also be mauve, purple, white and even bright red. This site contained the greatest numbers of early marsh orchid that Ian Green had seen in Aberdeenshire to date.

Marsh Lousewort and Early March Orchid

... this site is one of only a few in Aberdeenshire.

The very distinctive sedge, Carex otrubae (false fox sedge), with its sharply-edged three sided stems was also found. This species is mostly confined to coastal locations in Scotland but can be found in many wet places such as stream sides in England. Another interesting find was Plagiobothrys scouleri (white forget-me-not) which is actually an alien species originating from North America but one which is not a threat to our own native flora. It was seen growing in a sandy hollow which is wet over the winter but drains freely in summer. This is only the second recorded site for this species in Scotland since 2000. Ian Green reported that he had also seen it on a path on a hill in the Cairngorms. Perhaps it had been imported with some gravel used in the path’s construction? White forget-me-not is better known for its presence in the New Forest in Hampshire and there are really only a handful of other records of it from elsewhere in the UK and Ireland.

... there was a fantastic amount of orchids.

In other wet areas we came across Juncus balticus (baltic rush) and Carex disticha (brown sedge). The former has smooth greyish stems and is noticeable for its creeping rows of plants. It is not very common nationally but does have a fairly good distribution along the Moray Firth coast and also south Angus coast. Brown sedge, in contrast, is quite common nationally in both inland and coastal sites. However, it is very uncommon north of Angus and this site is one of only a few in Aberdeenshire.

One of the dune slacks where rabbits had been keeping the turf short contained a nice assemblage of species. In amongst the well-grazed Festuca rubra (red fescue) were diminutive versions of plants that can grow larger if left ungrazed. There was Carex arenaria (sand sedge), the most common sedge of sand dunes, Euphrasia sp. (eyebright) and Glaux maritima (sea milkwort) with their tiny attractive flowers, only truly appreciated with the aid of a hand lens. But the rarest of all was Carex maritima (curved sedge), only known at a couple of locations in Aberdeenshire and very much confined to the north and east coasts of mainland Scotland, as well as the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. This is not the prettiest of plants but it does show an interesting growth habit, with the stems and leaves arching to the side in a pronounced curve, hence the species’ common name. It is a difficult plant to spot at first due to its small size but once you have found one plant there will probably be many more in the vicinity since it has a network of far-reaching underground roots producing new growth. It may well be under-recorded due to its inconspicuous nature.

... enjoyable and interesting day with some unlikely surprises.

All in all, despite some cold wind and rain, this was a very enjoyable and interesting day with some unlikely surprises. It just goes to show how different the coastal vegetation can be. The other three biological training days organised in 2009 as part of the EGCP grant-aided project were: Coastal Butterflies and Moths, Coastal Birds, and Spiders of Coastal Dunes.

THE STATE OF THE EAST GRAMPIAN COAST A new report looking at the state and condition of the East Grampian coast aims to gather, for the first time, information on social, economic and environmental issues along the East Grampian coast from Fraserburgh to St Cyrus.

... information on social, economic and environmental issues along the East Grampian coast ...

At the other side of this same large wet slack there was a large population of Hippuris vulgaris (marestail), again not that common a species in this area. It prefers areas of stagnant or slow-moving water, so its presence indicated that this area of the slack was usually inundated all year round.


A healthy marine and coastal environment is not only important for maintaining ecosystems but it is also essential for employment opportunities, carbon storage, research and education, a natural sea defence, leisure, recreation and tourism, transportation of goods and people, sustaining biodiversity; preserving examples of our history and heritage and acting as a method of waste disposal. However with a changing climate and an increasing population in the coastal zone many of these services are now at risk.

CRUDEN BAY-BUSINESS BITES BACK Boris Stroud If you have just finished walking your dog or visiting the harbour in the lovely village of Cruden Bay you may have noticed there have been a few things going on…..Two small local companies have pulled together with local volunteers and taken it upon themselves to drive forward some community based projects in and around the village.

The report by East Grampian Coastal Partnership gives a snapshot of the coast in 2009 and will be used as a template to identify opportunities for future work and to monitor the changes that take place on the coast in the coming years.

... the marine and coastal environment plays a fundamental role in all of our lives ...

Emily Hastings, author of the report said “The East Grampian Coastal Partnership decided to write the report as the marine and coastal environment plays a fundamental role in all of our lives and as such, its health is important to everyone who lives in, works in or visits the north east”. “It is hoped the findings of this report will be of interest to local stakeholders and decision makers as well as people that live or have an interest in, the area”.

... shows the area to be performing well in terms of its society ...

Overall,the social data collected shows the area to be performing well in terms of its society with many of the aspects being quite positive; the economic data shows high levels of variations, with some aspects performing much better than others. The environmental section identified a number of weaknesses, with the majority of aspects needing further work. This report has allowed an assessment of the local coast to be made, indicating whether each of the aspects are good, satisfactory or in need of further work and improvement at the local level. Where it was felt improvement is needed or achievable, actions and partner organisations have been identified. It is recommended that each of the ‘work required’ issues and topics are taken forward as projects to meet the actions arising from this plan. The report will shortly be available online on the East Grampian Coastal Partnership website, on CD and a limited number of hard copies will be available to view in locations in the areaplease contact the Partnership for further information.

Local volunteers lend a hand Having been requested to take a seat on the village community council association, Managing Director of Marin Subsea Ltd and J Buchan & Sons have many skills and services that their companies freely give to the community. ‘’Cruden Bay has so much to offer the public, comments George Stroud (or Boris

The report has shown that a great deal of information exists on the local coast, though locating this information has proved both difficult and time consuming in some cases. Large data gaps also exist particularly relating to social data at the local level. Some trend data has been found and where it has not, initial data sets have been gathered to allow trends to be shown in the future.

... all have an obligation to make sure we look after where we stay ...

to his friends’) but we all have an obligation to make sure we look after where we stay and help to keep it clean and tidy. I have listened to all the things that people grumble about in the village, yet they do nothing about it. My company and all the volunteers who help saw the amount of rubbish that’s left behind and have decided to change that. For example we have a recycling area in Cruden Bay where people come to recycle and yet drop litter! We are left with their empty plastic bags that get blown into the river, or down the street, and end up adding to the beach litter-of what is otherwise the pride of the Cruden Bay community; 2 miles of unspoiled golden sands that sadly becomes a refuge for the rubbish that people throw away.


She’s an old girl that’s seen her time, but we want to make sure she looks good ... Painting Ladies Bridge

... why should we just walk on by when we can make a difference.

Many days have been spent cleaning up the beach with the removal of loads of old fishing net, ropes and other rubbish that litters the beach-about 30 tonnes of it to date and with only three or four volunteers it’s been very hard work! I have been asked why we get out there and do this…..I guess my answer would be if we don’t, know one else will, and I personally want to give something back to the village that makes a difference for all. If I can give something back to the community I am a very happy man!

Access to the beach is via Ladies Bridge, unfortunately she is falling away due to age-it was built over 100 years ago! She’s an old girl that’s seen her time, but we want to make sure she looks good despite all the rotting wood, we have given her one last face lift with a project to paint her up and make her shine……until we get a new one.

... unspoiled golden sands that sadly becomes a refuge for the rubbish that people throw away.

comments,‘’my kids will grow up here; I want to give something back, why should we just walk on by when we can all make a difference. ‘’

... they will inherit a rubbish dump if we do nothing about it.

I would hope that by my efforts and actions people will realise they have a duty of care for our community and the safety of all our children; after all they will inherit a rubbish dump if we do nothing about it. For me, I want it to be a clean and safe environment for the future, Cruden Bay is a place that people really like to visit and I want this to continue. If you are a local business, why not take the lead and sponsor a few clean ups, get out there and do it, make a difference to community projects. It’s got mileage and shows you are active in giving back to the community. We have a real sense of community spirit now and it is fun! So why not join together and make your local area a better place for everyone to live? It takes very little to make that difference; pick up that piece of litter…..report the graffiti to the council…….or sweep up that broken glass! Choose not to walk on by -stop, think and do something about it!

GET OUT AND COOK BBQ Lobster with garlic butter and lemon The nights are drawing in and the weather getting cooler but why not treat yourself to one last BBQ……

The local company Marin has given free use of a small digger and driver with fuel to get some of the projects pushed forward. Our recycling centre became very unsightly so we transformed it into a tidy area. We took the digger round and all got stuck in, with some kerbing that was replaced by our partners Scott Buchan of J Buchan’s & Son of Peterhead. Scott

Lobster must be the king of all seafood with a price to match! However as a treat, the cost of a wonderful local lobster cooked by yourself is less than a cheap meal out, and far nicer.

The inshore waters of the East Grampian coast are home to lobsters ...

To date we have carried out lots of other projects including cleaning up lots of the village, pathways to the beach removed of unsightly rubbish, and in the river we spent a whole day cleaning up the river banks of all surface rubbish, now we are taking the rotting metal hidden in its depths to make it a safe place again.

The inshore waters of the East Grampian coast are home to lobsters which are exported all over Europe and further afield


but are rarely eaten locally. This is a shame as it is a wonderful food so let’s cut down on the food miles and eat it ourselves.

6am on a winters morning

Lobsters are best bought from a local fishmonger and preferably one that is close to the sea, you may need to order it in advance. Avoid pre-cooked supermarket ones as they have generally been flown in from the USA (we live in a strange world!). The lobster must be alive, if it is dead but not cooked stay clear as lobster has to be very fresh. Ok the next bit is not for the squeamish. Killing a lobster is not easy; the boiling water technique is not advised as simply most people do not have a pan big enough to do the job properly. The best idea is to put the live lobster in the freezer for an hour before killing it, this effectively sends the lobster to sleep and reduces any pain the animal feels. Once the lobster is in the freezer, start the BBQ and remember you need it very hot but with glowing coals not flames. Placing any food above flames will make it sooty and inedible, a crime with all food but even worse with something as wonderful as lobster. Grind 2 cloves of garlic with 100g of butter. When the BBQ is hot enough remove the lobster from the freezer and using a 10 inch chef’s knife, cut in half down the centre. To do this sit the lobster on a table, flatten it out and in one hand grasp the tail where it joins the body. In the other hand, take the knife’s point and place it an inch from between the eyes towards the tail. The blade of the knife should be facing away from your hand that is holding the tail i.e. towards its face. Press the point of the knife into the head at that point cutting all of the way through to the cutting board, and then bring the blade down between the eyes to finish the cut of the head.This kills the lobster as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The story of how the fish gets to the market is best told by the BBC in the excellent Trawlermen series, but to see what happens next I was invited by the Harbour to come and have a look.

Once the lobster is prepared, season the flesh of the lobster with salt and a little olive oil. Place the lobster halves cut side down on the BBQ, cook for 3 minutes.

Once into the whites and through the disinfectant boot bath I entered the trading floor. At the other end of the hall, three auctions were already taking place; however my eyes were drawn to the range, size and quality of the fish on offer.

FROM QUAY TO TABLE 6 am and I have been up for nearly three hours! The harbour at Peterhead is already busy, with lorries arriving and parking in their specific bay awaiting a cargo of fish.

In an hour the business will begin in earnest.

The Dolphin café is doing a brisk trade for such an early hour with fishermen and trader alike enjoying the banter. Last night 10 trawlers landed 3766 fish boxes of mainly white fish. In an hour the business will begin in earnest. Peterhead fish market is the largest in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe. It handles 143,000 tonnes of fish a year, destined for markets across Europe.

... my eyes were drawn to the range, size and quality of the fish on offer.

Monk fish, the size of which you certainly do not see at the fish counter are next to small numbers of spurdog. Huge coaly and pollock can be seen close to boxes of squid along with an impressive range of flatfish and in a box on its own in the corner lays a lonely John dory. The main action though is with the cod and haddock, the staple of the nation’s fish shops.

Once you have tried this, BBQ burgers will never be the same!

Turn the lobster over and dot the butter on the flesh, cook for a further 2 minutes, serve with salad and good fresh bread.

Huge coaly and pollock can be seen close to boxes of squid ...

At any one time three mobile auctions are taking place, one each for cod and haddock and another for the rest. I had expected these to be difficult to follow, a mix of high speed Doric and


industry code but they were clear and concise-when the box has been purchased the buyers card is placed on the box and the auction moves on.

Valuable halibut who are still in the industry following the decommissioning of the last few years are reportedly doing well. A brand new £20 million offshore fishing vessel sits at the entrance to the harbour

By 08.30 it is all over and the lorries are heading away. Some are bound for local processors but Grimsby and the markets on the continent are bigger players. The best price of the day is for the large halibut. Haddock prices are up for the day but cod is not doing quite so well.

... Grimsby and the markets on the continent are bigger players.

... demonstrating that there is still optimism for the future.

demonstrating that there is still optimism for the future. The marina is full, with a waiting list for moorings and credit crunch or no credit crunch people still enjoy eating fish.

Dawn has broken so it is back to the Dolphin Café where fish buyers are discussing the future of the industry and the credit crunch. Worries that fish shops will be selling less fish and that processors are dragging their feet over payment are the talk of the hour.

Peterhead Harbour is prospering with a healthy fleet ...

A quick visit to the harbour control tower follows. Peterhead Harbour is prospering with a healthy fleet and those fishermen

The auction

On the road


EVENTS BKSA Wavemasters – Fraserburgh/St Combs

Beach Clean, RSPB Loch of Strathbeg

30th September - 4th October

Saturday 17 October

National kitesurfing wave championship event at Fraserburgh or St Combs beach.

We’ll spend the morning tidying up the beach with a litter pick at the north end of the reserve. Every little bit of litter that you help remove is one less piece of rubbish that could get eaten by a fulmar, turtle or whale. RSPB Loch of Strathbeg - meet at the north end of the reserve in the Tufted Duck Hotel car park, 9am - 12noon

Competitors will commence at 10 am each day. Free entry for spectators

For more information about this event telephone: 01346 532234 or e-mail: david.parnaby@rspb.org.uk

Sharing Good Practice - Marine non-native Species - responding to the threat Tuesday 27 October This event is an opportunity for those who work in the marine environment to learn about and consider possible responses to the threat posed by non-native species to our seas, coasts and estuaries, and to economic activities in these areas. This will include potential methods and strategies for prevention, detection and control of invasive plants and animals.

Kite surfing

For more information see www.snh.gov.uk Battleby Conference Centre, Perth Price: £55

Peterhead Fish Fest, Saturday 3rd October 2009 - Sunday 11th October 2009 Peterhead Fish Market

Not Just Birds - tracks & signs, RSPB Loch of Strathbeg Saturday 3 October As we continue to look at the wealth of wildlife that inhabits the reserve, we’ll be paying attention to the clues that some of our more secretive species leave behind. Booking essential 10 am – 12 noon

Sharing Good Practice - Marine Renewables and Our Natural Heritage Thursday 5 November This workshop will consider how best to locate and enable renewables development at sea while safeguarding those species and habitats most susceptible to harm, including those protected under national and international legislation. Themes include spatial planning, impact assessment, mitigation and monitoring. For more information see www.snh.gov.uk Battleby Conference Centre, Perth Price: £55

Suggested donation £3 (RSPB members free) For more information about this event telephone: 01346 532234 or e-mail: david.parnaby@rspb.org.uk

Aberdeen Beach Clean

Fraserburgh Heritage Fair, Fraserburgh Lighthouse Museum

Volunteer to help your local environment by coming along to a beach clean at Aberdeen Beach. Please meet at the North end of the beach by Donmouth (city side). For more information and to register for the event please contact Iain House: ijhouse@btinternet.com

10th October The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses will be teaming up with Fraserburgh Heritage Centre and Aberdeenshire Council to show off Fraserburgh’s heritage. Entry will be free.

Saturday 5th December, 10 am


J U N I O R

C O A S T A L

R A N G E R

Bored? Raining outside? We have a picture of the local coast for you to colour in

WILDLIFE WATCHING The entire length of the coast from Fraserburgh to St Cyrus is great for wildlife watching-no matter where you go you are sure to see something. Even really busy places like the Donmouth in Aberdeen or the busy harbours such as Fraserburgh and Peterhead can be havens for all sorts of wildlife; don’t think just because it is noisy there will be nothing to see. However, you do have to be in the right time at the right place and be prepared! Wildlife Watching Tips! • Move slowly and quietly-if you are in a quiet place watching animals any noise or fast movement will scare them away • Use binoculars instead of trying to get really close • Wear natural coloured clothes such as greens and brownspink is very nice but it will scare stuff away • Hide behind any trees or rocks when you are watching • Why not take some paper and a pencil with you and draw what you see to help you identify the wildlife when you get home

• Identifying animals by looking at their tracks is also fun, try looking at the prints left in the sand by birds at low tide and see if you can identify who made them. Swimming birds like ducks will leave webbed footprints, whereas wading birds which walk on mud, will leave tracks with long slender toes spread wide apart (their long toes help to spread their weight and stops them sinking in the mud). • The wildlife and the coast are very special, take care not to disturb them and take all litter home with you or find a bin! What to take • Warm clothes, including a hat as it gets very cold at the beach if you are sat still for a long time • Waterproof jacket • Binoculars and camera if you have them • A notebook and pencil to write down and draw what you have seen • Lunch (very important)


WALK Green Ladies, waterfalls and a mighty beast - a short walk from Muchalls If you read the summer 2009 edition of the newsletter you will have noticed that the ‘summer walk’ showed pictures of a mum and child braced against the raw wind of a north east winter, now it is the winter issue and we will be including butterflies and rock pools, however the reason that this is a winter walk will become apparent.

this was badly overgrown and boggy so I was forced to turn back after about 100 meters-much better choice for a winter’s day! Back on the main path you can follow the coast north for another twenty meters before reaching a bench. Here you can head down to the beach via a steep path that is well made but rough-this is most definitely not a buggy walk.

A reminder of summer

Muchalls sea scape

My walk started at the car park at the end of Marine Terrace, you can also reach Muchalls by the 101, 102 and 107 busses which stop by the A90. From the car park head south and pass below the railway line following the wooded path that heads to the sea. You are now walking along the edge of what was once the exclusive Marine Hotel which at one time even had its own railway station! This area is great for wildlife; with a low flying sparrow hawk being surprised to see me as it sped along the line of the path. Seconds later a buzzard flew by being mobbed by some crows.

... a low flying sparrow hawk being surprised to see me ...

The view soon opens out and you have a choice of routes, a small path heads south along the cliff top however on my visit

From here you can head south along an indistinct path that follows the high waterline past the first headland which is guarded by an impressive sea stack. Now check the tide as it is possible to be cut off once you pass this point.

... first headland which is guarded by an impressive sea stack.

Continuing south the beach remains wonderful and very rocky. You will notice two things- one is a pink cliff with a distinct gorge, though I could not find it, a path is said to lead up to the cliff top close to this point.The second is a passage through the headland to the south, this simply has to be explored and it is well worth it as the sound of a waterfall fills the space, once through you come across a tumbling river as it reaches the sea with a deep pool to your right at the bottom of a stunning waterfall.

... with visitors including Charles Dickens who described it as ‘a remarkably beautiful place’

... tales of green ladies, phantom pipers and of course smugglers.

By the mid 19th century the new village of Muchalls was a thriving resort town with visitors including Charles Dickens who described it as ‘a remarkably beautiful place’, hopefully you will agree.

Presently Muchalls lies just south of Newtonhill, however this is effectively New Muchalls, the original fishing village was located ¾ of a mile to the south and was a prosperous fishing community, however two fishing disasters in a short period contributed to the village being abandoned and the fishing boats moving south to Stonehaven.

Once you are on the beach the impressive cave known as Dunnyfell may cause a detour for further exploration but the rocks can be slippery. Close by is a cave entrance which once lead over a mile inland and is associated with tales of green ladies, phantom pipers and of course smugglers. However it will be the wonderful waterfall that descends the cliff that will catch your attention.

... the beach remains wonderful and very rocky.


The passage to the waterfall

... once through you come across a tumbling river ...

To get the best view you must carefully cross the river, it also looks a great place for a quick swim on a hot day, however this is the winter edition! Sadly you must now return the way you came but take the opportunity to look around, eiders on the water, fulmars over head and cormorant drying their wings on the rocks. On my visit large numbers of butterflies, including painted ladies and grasshoppers seen on the way back up the path.

... eiders on the water, fulmars over head and cormorant drying their wings on the rocks.

If you visit in the winter this walk should be much easier as the vegetation will have died back and there is a surprise waiting at the end of the path. Normally this newsletter is full of amazing wild animals well this path leads to an amazing farm animal, the north American Buffalo. This must be one of the only places in the world were you can see these impressive beasts by the seaside.

Muchalls burn entering the sea

... one of the only places in the world where you can see these impressive beasts by the seaside.

BECOME AN AFFILIATE MEMBER If you would like to receive regular information on the Partnership’s activities and invitations to events please become an affiliate member. This is completely free of charge.You can register online at www.egcp.org.uk/membership or call 01224 395151 for an application. Contact EGCP, Project Officer, East Grampian Coastal Partnership, c/o The Macaulay Land Use Rearch Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH Tel: 01224 395151 • Email: egcp@macaulay.ac.uk • Website: www.egcp.org.uk The East Grampian Coastal Partnership would like to thank the following Partners for their support


Egcp newsletter winter 09