On Tuesday 30th May there will be a choice of four different Excursions to places of peat and peatland interest, scenic beauty and historic buildings in and around Aberdeenshire. These will provide an introduction to the varied scenery and land use of this beautiful and historic part of Scotland. It is a mixture of coast and sea, rich farmland, bog, moor and mountain.

Excursion 1: Peat extraction and whisky distillery

This excursion will visit St Fergus Moss that is worked commercially and Rora Moss SSSI a drained and cutover bog both of which are owned by the Northern Peat and Moss Company. We shall stop at Lonmay Village Hall for a typical Aberdonian lunch before travelling on for a short tour of the Glen Garrioch (pronounced Glen Geery) distillery at Old Meldrum.

Excursion 2: Loch of Strathbeg and Fyvie Castle

The Loch of Strathbeg, Britain’s largest dune loch, is a recent creation of geological times, formed from the sea in a massive storm in 1720. It is a Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This excursion will also stop for lunch at Lonmay Village Hall before travelling on to historic Fyvie Castle that dates from the 13th Century.

Excursion 3: Red Moss of Netherley, hill peat farming, Dunnottar castle

Red Moss of Netherley is one of the best examples of a raised bog in NE Scotland. Access is by a raised pathway from which old hand-cut peat workings and restoration activities can be seen. Dunnottar Castle, an impressive, ruined cliff top fortress, is the former home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. The excursion then proceeds on to Cairn o’Mount, returning to Aberdeen via Bridge of Feugh to view the Falls, a stunningly beautiful stretch of the River Dee near Banchory.

Excursion 4: Peatland forestry and restoration plus whisky cask making at Speyside Cooperage

At Gow Moss in Forestry Commission Scotland’s Ordiequish Forest, we shall see forest-to-bog restoration and an area converted to low density ‘peatland edge woodland’ for a combination of habitat and carbon benefits. The next stop is Elchies Forest, where we will see areas of afforested peatland managed as a productive forest and where lodgepole pine of poor quality has been removed to diversify the forest structure. In the afternoon we travel on to visit the Speyside Cooperage, where we will learn about the making and repair of oak whisky casks. After refreshments we shall return to Aberdeen.

The post-conference tour was cancelled due to low interest.