The light and sound installation ‘Sòrn’ at Strathmashie Forest, Laggan in the Cairngorms National Park (the UK’s largest national park at 4,528 sq km) has been created by the artist Gill Russell. Funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), the Cairngorms Local Action Group and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the project celebrates 2011’s UNESCO Year of the Forest by creating artworks in outdoor locations in the national park which ‘enhance awareness of the heritage of the forest and of the people who live there’. Sòrn is the culmination of the project and has been supported by Laggan Forest Trust which is hosting the exhibition over the winter months. Sòrn is designed to be seen in darkness so anyone wishing to view the installation is advised to visit in the evening. Located on a good forest track five minutes from the Wolftrax car park, Sòrn is well signposted but remember to bring a torch!
More down to earth, a new mountain bike centre near Tomintoul, which could create the longest single track descent in Scotland, has been approved by the CNPA. Two trails will be built – 10 kilometres and 19 kilometres – through the forests and on existing forest roads. The descent from the summit of Carn Daimh on the longer of the trails will be approximately 4.7 kilometres. CNPA Planning Officer, Mary Grier, said, “Interesting and challenging trails will be created from the existing landform rather than being man-made and will involve limited construction and minimal tree felling. We’ve also added a condition that the trail should be no wider than 1.2 metres, all of which helps protect the surrounding forest and landscape. Currently both cyclists and walkers use the forest roads and the likelihood of conflict between the two has been identified as low. The increased promotion of the new centre could attract more people to enjoy the outdoors in this area of the park and explore the existing network of paths.”