New homes created for rare dragonfly in Scotland near Hamish Macbeth village of Plockton

Conservationists have pulled on wellies and waterproofs to dig out new bog pools in the northwest Highlands of Scotland in a bid to boost the survival chances of a rare insect.

The striking Northern Emerald dragonfly had been identified living in a single pool by a loch on the Balmacara Estate, near the scenic village of Plockton, in Wester Ross.

Now a team of conservationists has been out on the hills with their spades to create new homes for the threatened species in the hope of boosting the local population.

The Northern Emerald requires a very particular habitat in order to breed successfully, including acid peat bog pools and floating sphagnum moss.

The striking Northern Emerald dragonfly had been identified living in a single pool by a loch on the Balmacara Estate, near the scenic village of Plockton, in Wester Ross. Picture: Dave Ashton

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The area around Loch Achaidh na h-Inich, which is part of the Collie Mhor site of special scientific interest and provides drinking water for the local area, was surveyed in advance of the excavations to identify the most suitable locations for the new pools.

Volunteer groups used an assortment of hand tools, spades and colanders to dig out and clean the pools, toiling through all weathers to create an ideal habitat for the species to thrive.

The work was led by Jeff Waddell, senior natural heritage advisor for the National Trust for Scotland, which owns the estate, with help from the charity’s Highland Conservation Volunteers and Raleigh International’s Re:Green team.

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Conservationists has been out on the hills to create new homes for the rare Northern Emerald dragonfly on Balmacara Estate, in the northwest Highlands

He said: "It was fun, productive and rewarding to work with National Trust for Scotland volunteers to create some much-needed breeding pools for the rare Northern Emerald dragonfly at the Trust’s Balmacara property last week.

“Without this wor, its habitat would disappear here, as natural processes mean the fen would become covered in trees and too dry for the species to breed, causing it to become extinct at this site.

“This wetland habitat is part of a site of special scientific interest designated as a safe haven for these amazing insects.”

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Plockton, known for its palm trees, shot to worldwide fame after it was used as the location for the popular television series Hamish Macbeth, which starred Scottish actor Robert Carlyle as a country policeman in the fictional village of Lochdubh.

It has also featured on the big screen, in cult horror film The Wicker Man, with Edward Woodward, Vincent Price and Britt Ekland.

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