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The Highland Reserve Interviews: Lady Sylvia

Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 30th March 2015, last updated: 4th March 2019


This month we have been conducting a series of interviews with visitors to our Glencoe Wood Nature Reserve to get to know them, and find out their reasons for visiting Scotland and the reserve. Our first guest appearance is from Lady Sylvia Grant Nunn, who came to Glencoe Wood with her ‘Ghillie’, Chris, to meet Stewart and find her plot.

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Lady Sylvia and Chris

HT: Sylvia, I’d like to start by welcoming you to our community pages. What were you and your family’s particular reasons for visiting Glencoe Wood nature reserve?

Sylvia: I just wanted to visit the nature reserve and particularly my ‘estate’ so that I have a picture of it all in my mind.

HT: Have any of you been to Scotland before? If so what have been the highlights for you?

Sylvia: Yes, as a toddler. I started walking on the train! Also I have been for a few holidays with my family. And I came with my sister and mother to visit my mother’s relatives and places she lived and knew.

HT: Whereabouts are you staying during this visit to the West of Scotland? And are you intending to travel further around Scotland, or beyond?

Sylvia: We are staying in North Ballachulish at the Woolly Rock B&B, which was excellent. We came here specifically to visit the nature reserve and explore the surrounding area.

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Inchtree Falls, near North Ballachulish

HT: Do you have any Scottish ancestors, or other connections to Scotland? If so can you tell us a little bit about them?

Sylvia: My mother and father were both Scottish, from Nairn and Inverness. My father was a Ross and my mother a Grant. Unfortunately, I was born in England.

HT: What would you say was your favourite part of the nature reserve?

Sylvia: I enjoyed the lochans, the frogs, the black, toady, lizardy, froggy things, which I thought at first were salamander, but they weren’t, and my plot, which was in a little dip with a brook running through it. It couldn’t have been better.

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Lochan at Glencoe Wood Nature Reserve

HT: Is there anything you would love to see in the nature reserve in the future that isn’t there at present in terms of wildlife, or facilities, or both?

Sylvia: I’m glad there is a buggy to get people about in. Some of those slopes are a bit steep. Having Stewart take us round and explain what is being done and the connections with other environmental organisations tackling concerns gives me some peace of mind, that there are people working to protect our bit of the world. I wouldn’t want to see ‘Improvements in facilities’. Keep it wild.

HT: Is there anything else you would like to say about your visit?

Sylvia: I just want to say thank you for all the work you are doing to protect this area. I love the idea that in a small way, I am helping to protect it forever.

HT: Many thanks Sylvia, or as we say in Gaelic, tapadh leabh! We hope you come again soon to visit when those little frogs have had many more frogs!

What Sylvia saw in the lochan may have been the common or viviparous lizard, which lives much further north than other lizards. In fact its range extends as far as the Arctic Circle. It doesn’t lay eggs like other lizards but gives birth to its young. The mating season begins in April or May. If the female is not interested she bites the male viciously. Males beware!

If anyone has visited the nature reserve recently and would like to be interviewed we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch at [email protected]

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Written by: Stewart Borland

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