Tales from the forest

Inspiration, stories and an insider's glimpse into the world of Scotland's forests

Tales from the forest

Welcome to the Forestry Commission Scotland blog. Here you'll find inspiration, stories and an insider's glimpse into the world of Scotland's forests.


Leave No Trace: Tips For Terrific Days Out

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Scotland's hottest summer on record brought hundreds of people out onto the golden sands of Loch Morlich last weekend. Many enjoyed cooling off in the crystal-clear water or took part in some watersport adventures, whilst others took in the amazing scenery and relaxed, soaking up the rays.

Unfortunately along with the sunshine and people come two very big problems - litter and fires.

Each morning throughout the summer, the team at Glenmore have to clean up the car parks and beach. The photo below shows just some of the mess we removed from the beach after the busy weekend. We want to welcome all our visitors with clean and tidy facilities, and we love seeing so many people out enjoying the forest park. While visiting our forests, we ask you to try as hard as you can to leave no trace.

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Spring Photo Jam - The Winners!

The public votes have been counted, and we can finally declare the winners of our massive Spring Photo Jam competition!

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Winner #1 - with more than twice as many votes as the nearest finalist! - is 14-year old Jodi Clarke, for her moody, rain-swept shot of two sheep on a country road. Jodi's dramatic photo "captures the atmosphere of that place, Scottish climate and all," according to our judges, who deemed it a "perfect postcard shot."

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Spring Photo Jam - The Finalists!

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Over the past week, our three judges have been hard at work narrowing down 100+ entries to our Spring Photo Jam competition to pick just 12 finalists for the public vote. It's been a tough job - there were so many brilliant images submitted, coming from photographers who ranged in age from 10 to 70.

You gave us everything from intimate portraits of birds, bugs and beasties to detailed studies of leaves, barks and moss. We asked for dramatic shots of your favourite spots and your most dramatic scenes featuring water, lochs and coasts. In each and every category, you delivered! It was so tricky picking our favourites for the public vote, and we recommend you head over to Facebook to check out the whole Spring Photo Jam Gallery.

The public vote - you decide!

You have until Monday to vote for your favourite photo, chosen from our twelve finalists. The public vote will take place on our Facebook page - the two photographs with the most 'Likes' on Facebook by midnight on Monday 25 June will each win a fabulous £100 voucher for Go Ape! - the UK's number 1 treetop adventure.

To give each finalist an equal chance, we've shared their pictures in a new gallery - voting is simple. Just head over to the gallery, and click 'Like' on your favourite picture. We have also linked each picture in this blog post to its equivalent on Facebook - so you can click any of the pictures below, log in, and vote by clicking 'Like' on the picture of your choice.

Step 1 - Visit our Finalists Gallery on Facebook

Step 2 - Pick your favourite picture

Step 2 - Click 'Like' to vote!

Without further ado... here are our finalists!

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School holiday activities on a budget

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When you're a youngster, the holidays seem to last forever, stretching on and on in a sunlit haze of long evenings and bright, early mornings. The most important thing to do on your holidays, of course, is to make new memories with friends and family... but keeping the kids entertained is always a challenge, especially with the cost of indoor activities in towns and cities. 

Looking for something a bit more healthy, active, and most of all memorable? The wonder, beauty and excitement of Scotland's forests is out there, and for very little outlay, you can plan an unforgettable day out, often just a short drive from the big cities. As the holidays approach, we’ve put together some of our favourite things to do with your little ones that’ll get them outdoors and exploring Scotland’s forests.

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The Spring Photo Jam - Meet The Judges!

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The official Forestry Commission Scotland Spring Photo Jam has come to an end! It's been an incredible week, looking through more than 100 entries to find the best of the best, with contributions from aspiring photographers of all ages, as well as experienced snappers and a few professionals. As you can see from the small selection above, our Facebook and Twitter feeds have provided a riot of colour, with beasts, bugs and birds of every kind alongside stunning scenery and intricate natural patterns in wood and water.

Thank you for sharing your photos with us! If you haven't seen them yet, all the photos entered can be viewed online at bit.ly/spring-gallery, or by searching on Twitter using the hashtag #SpringPhotoJam.

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The Aberfoyle Osprey Project - sad news from the nest

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Clarach in happier times...

Throughout the Spring season, we’ve been following the story of Mrs O, an osprey at the Tweed Valley project who has produced several eggs so far this year, along with her breeding partner. While Mrs O is thriving, sadly this week we had some very sad news from our team at the Aberfoyle Osprey Project.

To our great dismay, Clarach, the female osprey who had nested in previous years near The Lodge at Aberfoyle, has suffered an unexpected disaster - her clutch of eggs was attacked by a marauding raven, dashing any hopes that she would be able to produce a brood of young ospreys this season.

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COMPETITION: Announcing the Spring Photo Jam!

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Did you take some incredible photos this Spring? With Summer just around the corner, we want to see your very best pictures. To give you a little inspiration, we’ve come up with 4 categories - we’ll crown a champion of each category, and two overall winners!

We’ve got two incredible grand prizes up for grabs… two £100 vouchers for Go Ape, the UK’s number one treetop adventure, to use at either of their courses at Glentress near Peebles, and at Aberfoyle.

We're looking for the best wildlife and nature photographers of all ages. You don't need to be a professional - just show us your very best pictures. The competition will run for 2 weeks, so get snapping and sharing! We'll announce a winner of each theme, with two overall winners chosen by public vote each receiving a voucher from Go Ape. Find out all about the themes below!

How to enter: You can share your pictures with us on Twitter using the hashtag #SpringPhotoJam, or alternatively by sending us a direct message on Facebook or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your picture attached, and the subject line #SpringPhotoJam. We'll share highlights as we go!

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Wildcats at Clashindarroch

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The Scottish wildcat is one of our best loved native mammals. Breeding with pets and feral cats threatens numbers; as does our presence in wild places. There's concern that forestry adds to that threat. Clashindarroch in Aberdeenshire shows how a working forest can remain a stronghold for wildcats.

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Manoeuvres in the Dark: Celebrating 100 Dark Sky Parks

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Congratulations to The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) - this month, they have announced a new International Dark Sky Place: Tumacácori National Historical Park in the U.S., bringing the total number of parks up to 100. This is a fantastic achievement, and as we were just the 5th on that list of parks, we’re extra proud to see them reach 100 locations. The IDA now protects more than 73,800 square miles of night sky around the world.

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