UK's first ever Golden Eagle festival to be held in Moffat

Perhaps you want to learn how to capture the perfect shot of a golden eagle swooping on its prey or find out how to help save Scotland’s native wildlife. Or maybe you just want to know more about how planting trees could benefit the environment.

The Borders town of Moffat is set to host the UK's first ever Golden Eagle Festival, with a range of events celebrating Scotland national bird and other iconic wildlife

All this and more is on the programme for a brand new festival dedicated to Scotland's national bird, which is coming to a town in the Scottish Borders this autumn.

Moffat is set to host the UK’s first ever Golden Eagle Festival in September, staging a range of events from conservationists, wildlife groups and nature organisations.

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It also celebrates the naming of Moffat as Scotland’s first Eagle Town, which has come about after the success of a community-backed conservation scheme aimed at re-establishing the species in the surrounding countryside.

Four birds have already been translocated from the Highlands as part of the ground-breaking vSouth of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, with more due to be released this year

The festival, led by the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will take place between 19 and 26 of September.

Leading Scottish wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan is set to deliver the keynote speech.

He said: “I’m delighted to be part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project’s first ever Golden Eagle Festival and to support their important conservation work to ensure golden eagles once again flourish in southern skies.

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Leading Scottish wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan is set to deliver the keynote speech for the new festival, which runs from 19 to 26 September

“The thrill of seeing a golden eagle soaring over a Scottish hillside is an unbeatable experience.

“Each glimpse of this magical bird is special, but they should and could be more common in the south of Scotland.”

The programme of events is still to be finalised but will include events and activities delivered by a range of leading wildlife groups, including RSPB Scotland, NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, Wild Eskdale, and the Scottish Raptor Study Group.

There will even be a workshop delivered by a leading wildlife photographer.

The new festival has been greeted with enthusiasm.

Leys Geddes, chair of local tourism agency Visit Moffat, said: We are ideally situated to become Scotland’s First Eagle Town, to host the first Eagle Festival and to celebrate the golden eagle – one of Scotland’s most iconic species.

“The Moffat hills are often described as mini-highlands, owing to our 300 square kilometres of hills, outstanding scenery and rich wildlife, so the perfect area for golden eagles to thrive.

“It would be wonderful to ensure they become a regular sighting for visitors to the area.”

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has seen four birds translocated from the Highlands to the Borders since 2018, with more due to be released there this year.

Before the project began, surveys suggested only two to four pairs of golden eagles were nesting across the Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders areas - despite the abundance of suitable habitat.

Community Engagement Officer Rick Taylor, community engagement officer for the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, stressed how important local involvement has been to the success of the initiative.

“It plays an absolutely vital role in protecting this iconic species,” he said.

“We’re delighted now to be launching Scotland’s first Eagle Festival, so we can keep building on this support and ensure that we can see even more of this magnificent species across the south of Scotland’s skies for many generations to come.”

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