Alladale Wilderness Reserve

The Alladale Wilderness Reserve is the idea and passion of Paul Lister. Paul has been involved in conservation for a very long time and aided with projects such as the Carpathian Large Carnivore project and with several game reserves in Africa. Now he is attemping to restore some of our lost fauna and flora to a 50,000 acre site in Scotland (he has 25,000 and is trying to get neighbours to 'chip in'), near Inverness.

Emotions are running high, not only in the local area, but over the width and breadth of the UK as Paul wants not only to restore the native fauna including Caledonian Pine, but also some of the extinct flora - in particular Elk and boar. More controversially, carnivores - Bear, Lynx and Wolves. The project will also involve fencing in the reserve which is not going down well with Ramblers. Locally there is concern over higher volumes of traffic, but also the anticipation that the Reserve will create over 100 jobs directly and more locally from the spin offs from increased tourism.

Quite a lot has been happening in the media about it from broadsheets and country persuit magazines to the BBC's Countryfile - you can follow the links from their website to see the media coverage.

Paul has a fantastic crew of rangers headed up by Innes, who is almost part of the land, dedicated staff who work in the Alladale Lodge providing 4* luxury to guests and a chap called Chris Sandom who is running the volunteer project.

In October 2005 I came up and joined the volunteer programme for 2 weeks at a total cost of £50 for return flights with EasyJet and £100 for two weeks board and lodge. In return I was also expected to put in a full weeks graft helping out on the Estate.

To see my write up and pictures from each day, click on the date in the table below.

October 2005