Rotary hears of moor demo project

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Rotary Club members were treated to an excellent illustrated talk on the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, delivered in a professional manner by Dr Cat Barlow.

Now in its seventh year of a ten-year term, the project focuses on managing the moor for the red grouse which is important for local business interests.

The moor has to be balanced between nature and conservation which involves heather-burning programmes to encourage fresh shoots for the grouse to feed on. There is a conflict between the grouse and bird raptors, especially the hen harrier as too many of them means less grouse. Other predators include foxes, crows and weasels. Grouse are at their most vulnerable at the chick stage when hen harriers have hatched their clutches at the same time and seek grouse chicks to feed them on, so a diversionary feeding programme is put in place to alleviate this. It has also meant clearing the moor of sheep which has not always been popular with local farmers.

The project also includes a schools programme to encourage and educate pupils and has been very successful.

Dr Cat’s talk encouraged many questions and led to further discussion, after which president Sandy gave the vote of thanks.