Tuesday 25th April 2017, 1:52pm
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is encouraging Wester Ross residents and visitors to take part in an experimental photography project to record gradual changes in the area’s spectacular landscape.
Anyone with a smartphone, camera or tablet can get involved in the new citizen science project which focuses on six viewpoints across the Wester Ross National Scenic Area (NSA), one of Scotland’s 40 nationally-designated landscapes.
Laura Campbell, SNH’s Landscape and Greenspace Manager, said: “Landscape is about people and places. So it’s a natural step for us to try and involve people in helping us monitor how our landscape is changing. If you are travelling through the Wester Ross NSA, you can help us to develop a story charting changes in the landscape simply by sharing your photographs from six places.”
Wester Ross NSA contains some of the most iconic mountains on the west coast, such as Beinn Eighe. The western seaboard and lochs add to the variety of the landscape, which also features moorland, ancient woods, sandy beaches and coastal villages like Gairloch.
The landscape we see today has evolved through the centuries and it continues to change. The Wester Ross Scenic Photo Project is a pilot which aims to capture this change through a timeline of photographs taken and submitted voluntarily by members of the public.
The six viewpoints are easily located with the help of a guide available on the SNH website which features maps, coordinates, descriptions and sample photographs, as well as instructions on how to upload your images. The six locations are at spots where drivers can safely pull over. No photography know-how is required – all you need to do is point-and-shoot and then share your snap.
Over the next few years the photos submitted will be used to produce a picture of how the landscape is changing. Laura said: “People don’t have to photograph all six views to take part. The photographs submitted will make a valuable contribution to our monitoring work. The longer the project continues the more useful it will be, so we are really hopeful that people will be suitably inspired by the stunning scenery to pause for a moment to take a photo at these locations as often as they can.”
You will be able to see the uploaded photographs, along with project news and updates, on the SNH website at http://www.snh.gov.uk/ScenicPhoto/WesterRoss
If the Wester Ross pilot is a success, SNH hopes to extend the project to other NSAs and also encourage communities and other organisations to set up their own projects. The work will feed into Scotland’s new Landscape Monitoring Programme, supporting Scottish Government policy and helping Scotland to meet international requirements to monitor change.
Laura said: “Our landscapes are an important part of our natural and cultural heritage. In contributing to our health and well-being, they help make Scotland a better place to live, work and visit. Our spectacular scenery is also an important economic asset, attracting investors, businesses, visitors and tourists, even Hollywood film makers, and providing jobs and helping to grow the economy.”