Buchan nature reserve unveils new £300k renovations

OPENING THE REFURBISHED VISITOR CENTRE AT THE LOCH OF STRATHBEG ARE (L TO R) BILL CRAIGIE,FRIENDS OF STRATHBEG,ELYN ZHANG, COASTAL COMMUNITIES FUND AND MARK SULLIVAN, ABERDEEN AND DISTRICT RSPB LOCAL GROUP, WATCHED BY INTERNS MOWENE EGAN AND IMOGEN RUTTER. [Picture: BROWN]
OPENING THE REFURBISHED VISITOR CENTRE AT THE LOCH OF STRATHBEG ARE (L TO R) BILL CRAIGIE,FRIENDS OF STRATHBEG,ELYN ZHANG, COASTAL COMMUNITIES FUND AND MARK SULLIVAN, ABERDEEN AND DISTRICT RSPB LOCAL GROUP, WATCHED BY INTERNS MOWENE EGAN AND IMOGEN RUTTER. [Picture: BROWN]

A Buchan nature reserve unveiled its new £300,000 refurbishments on Friday which have been nearly 10 years in planning.

The Loch of Strathbeg unveiled work that will double the amount of living space for volunteers as well as give visitors greater access to view the wildlife at the site.

Richard Humpidge: RSPB Scotland’s Loch of Strathbeg Site Manager, said: “The building work began last September but the actual planning of it has been going on for at least nine or ten years - so we’re very pleased to have it at last.”

The nature reserve relies on volunteers to help with its work, with volunteers seeking a career in conservation also benefitting from working at the site.

Mr Humpidge said: “The key thing is that we have doubled our accommodation for the volunteers so we can have twice as many resident volunteers.”

Different groups contributed to the £310,000 refurbishments including the Coastal Communities Fund, The Friends of Strathbeg and the Aberdeen and District RSPB Local Group.

Mark Sullivan, Chair of the RSPB Local Group who donated funds that went towards a new viewing window, said: “We want more people to come here, more people to enjoy the reserve.

“You don’t have to have binoculars or a telescope to come here and see the birds.”

The Coastal Communities Fund awarded nearly £60,000 towards the project to upgrade the volunteers quarters with Friends of Strathbeg also supplementing the work with a “significant” donation.

Bill Craigie, on behalf of the Friends of Strathbeg, said: “I’m sure all the many supporters who bought bird food and nest boxes from us will be delighted to see the excellent new facilities that the profits were spent on.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The improved visitor centre will ensure that this internationally important wetland can be enjoyed by even more people, bringing significant economic benefits to the local area, while the refurbished volunteer accommodation and additional facilities, supported by the Coastal Communities Fund, will help conserve this spectacular habitat for generations to come.”