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Golden Eagle Project
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With plans for the Moffat 2023 Golden Eagle Festival well under way, we look back on last years festival and look forward to this coming September in Moffat!
Dates for the 2023 festival are:
22 -24 SEPTEMBER
IOLO WILLIAMS - 23 SEPTEMBER
The Moffat Golden Eagle Festival was created in 2021 to celebrate the town of Moffat becoming Scotland's first and only Eagle Town. The aim was to demonstrate how the presence of an iconic species such as the Golden Eagle can have a positive and highly beneficial impact on eco-tourism and economic growth as well as instilling a sense of pride within the community and an appreciation for the incredible wildlife and landscape that southern Scotland has to offer.
With the resounding success of the inaugral festival in 2021, seeing over 1000 visitors to Moffat and the positive feedback from the community, local businesses and producers over the last two years, we aim to make the Moffat Golden Eagle Festival an annual event.
Last years’ festival kicked off on Friday 16th with a beginner level raptor identification course at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel. The course aims to improve confidence in the recognition of birds of prey regularly encountered in the southern uplands, particularly how to discern a buzzard from a Golden Eagle. The Buccleuch Arms, who promote adventure activities including Eagle-themed motorcycle routes across the south of Scotland are proud adoptees of ‘Buccy’, a young male eagle from the 2022 release.
Below: The Buccleuch Arms Hotel Eagle by Peter Bowsher
Owner Dave Smith, who commissioned a 7-foot chainsaw carving of a Golden Eagle from multi award winning Moffat chainsaw artist Peter Bowsher for the festival said:
'We are completely behind the Golden Eagle project and the Moffat Festival. We see the potential and our guests are very excited at the chance of an Eagle encounter! Our ‘eagle routes’ are increasingly popular and we are delighted to support Moffat's identity as an Eagle Town in every way we can’.
The day progressed with Borders Forest Trust leading a fully-attended guided walk to the Devils’ Beef Tub to introduce their ecological restoration of the area after which Professor Anna Meredith delivered a fantastic talk entitled ‘One health for people and nature’, discussing the interconnection between humans and the environment.
The day culminated in a fantastic set of live music from ‘Clan Blues’, featuring the amazing slide guitar of Dave Dick, ex-wildlife crime officer, author and raptor worker.
Right: Scottish Power Pipe Band
Saturday 17th opened with the Enviro-Day, where the festival welcomed a variety of projects and organisations to Moffat Town Hall to promote the excellent work they undertake across the region. Tweed Valley Venison provided food while Dark Sky Spirits offered samples of their Moffat Eagle Festival whisky. Ray Lowden from Kielder Bird of Prey Centre offered a close encounter of the bird kind at the Main Festival stage, wowing the gathered crowd with the chance to meet a falconry Golden Eagle. The festival atmosphere continued to grow as the Scottish Power Pipe band (who were ranked 3rd in the world last year) took to the high street throughout the afternoon, followed by Cllr Lynne Davis addressing the crowd to thank everyone for all of their support.
Below: Ray Lowden of Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre at the Enviro-Day
After a short break it was back over to the Town Hall for two truly fantastic talks. Scotland’s leading wildlife photographer, Laurie Campbell opened up proceeding with a remarkable talk about extensive experience photographing wild golden eagles and the incredible lengths he has gone through to do so without disturbing the birds.
Wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan returned to deliver the key-note speech and presented a wonderful talk via the internet about his experiences with Golden Eagles and other wildlife encounters across the globe.
After the talks concluded it was time for more live music at the Proudfoot Institute from The Djooks and Rick& Yiota which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Hope Johnstone Park hosted the family fun day on Sunday 18th which offered a variety of activities for the whole family. There was the chance to climb to an eagle eyrie on Eagle crag climbing wall, wildlife themed activities, eagle-eye archery, food and drink and even the chance to meet an alpaca as well as the return of Ray’s Golden Eagle.
In partnership with Hart Fell Running Club and Moffat Mountain Rescue, ‘Eagle Hill’ Fell Race left the Moffat Ram on the high street at 10am for a gruelling 10.5km route through the hills surrounding Moffat.
The festival concluded with ‘Eat with the Eagles’, a Sunday lunch at Moffat House followed by a presentation by the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. This was followed by live music in the bar to bring the Moffat 2022 Golden Eagle Festival to a close.
A huge thank you to everyone who attended, supported or contributed to the festival in any way and to the town of Moffat for hosting this wonderful event in Scotland's first and only Eagle Town!
The festival couln't go ahead without the incredible support from the community, bussinesses and organisations in Moffat.
We look forward to seeing you all again in September 2023!!
MOFFAT 2023 GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL - 22-24 SEPTEMBER 2023
IOLO WILLIAMS -23 SEPTEMBER (Saturday 8pm)
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM MOFFAT 2021 BELOW