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Visit To Creag Meagaidh

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Article by:
Linda Mellor , Writer. Editor. Photographer. and Author., British Deer Society

BDS Members Visit to Creag Meagaidh

Late October 2023, members of the BDS Highland Branch visited the 4,000 hectare Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve (NNR), owned and managed by NatureScot. The NNR is located on the north shore of Loch Laggan along the A86 between Fort William and Newtonmore. It’s popular with walkers, ice-climbers and is a haven for wildlife. The reserve runs a community-based deer stalking group, and butchers and sells its venison.

Graeme Taylor, a NatureScot Operations Manager (Land Management), opened the visit with an overview of the reserve, and talked about Wild Deer Best Practice, and said, ‘deer are at the forefront of what we do’. Reserve Manager and Laggan local Rory Richardson gave an informative and passionate talk about the reserve’s history and outlined the improvements made under NatureScot’s ownership.

Creag Meagaidh was managed for sporting interests, sheep farming and forestry before being declared a NNR in 1986. Deer are the ‘most important species on the reserve’ said Rory, and getting their numbers right, was one of the fundamentals on Creag Meagaidh. Managing deer numbers created a thriving, rich mosaic of habitats. The increased cover, and wider range of natural food greatly reduced winter mortality and boosted the growth of bigger, stronger deer. The Reserve is home to a diverse and abundant range of flora and fauna.

The NNR’s community-based deer stalking contributes to the annual deer cull and plays a vital part in protecting and restoring the reserve’s habitat. Community based deer stalking is open to everyone, with or without qualifications or experience.

Members visited the rifle range, micro hydro with electric vehicle recharging points, incineration room and deer larder before a walking the Allt Dubh trail. A raffle, organised by BDS Highlands Chair Stewart Blair, raised £117.

More details on the Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve can be found on their website. 

Thank you to Linda Mellor for sharing her experience of the day and her photos capturing the day’s events.


The British Deer Society is a charity working to improve awareness and understanding about deer, deer welfare and deer management. Find out more about our Highlands branch and how to become a member of the BDS below.

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