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COMMUNITY: Cairngorms Cranes Project – Lead Corporate Partner

14 February 2022

McGowan is thrilled to be confirmed as Lead Corporate Partner for the Cairngorms Cranes project, committing our support for the return of Eurasian cranes to the Cairngorms for the first time in more than 500 years!

This rewilding project seeks to reintroduce a breeding population of cranes to the Cairngorms National Park, restoring a missing piece of the area’s ecology, encouraging the expansion of life-rich wetlands and creating opportunities for local communities and businesses. Sam Hesling (Environmental Engineering Contracts Manager) was delighted with the announcement and said…

“Protecting and enhancing our natural environment is key to McGowan, as demonstrated through our company CARE Values. Having explored a number of options for supporting environmental projects, the opportunity to become Lead Corporate Partner of the Cairngorms Cranes project ticks all of the boxes for our business.”

Standing at more than 1 metre tall with a 2.4 metre wingspan, the Eurasian crane is an iconic wetland bird, known for its evocative bugling call and mesmerising courtship dance. Cranes were once widespread across the UK but became extinct in the late 1500s due to hunting and drainage of their wetland habitat. After a tentative return to the UK in the 1970s, population growth was slow for decades until a reintroduction project in south-west England boosted numbers.

Despite the growing crane population elsewhere, there are presently only a handful of breeding pairs in Scotland. It is possible that this isolated population could spread over time, but it would likely take many years without help.

Cairngorms Cranes is led by SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, working in partnership with the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Trees for Life. Pete Cairns, Executive Director at SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, commented…

“We have been working closely with McGowan for a number of years and believe that they are a perfect partner to support us on this exciting project. Our values are already well aligned and it’s great to have received financial backing from a prominent local business. I would stress that although the return of cranes will enhance the Park’s ecological integrity and provide an added impetus to wetland expansion, this is just as much about the community benefits that can be derived from the reintroduction of such a high-profile species.”

McGowan's support at this important early stage will enable the project to get off to the best possible start. Following a positive habitat feasibility report in 2020 and the recent appointment of a Project Manager, the initial 12-month development phase is about to commence with further assessments, detailed planning and engagement with the local community. Should the licence application be granted, it will lead to a 4-year reintroduction programme.

Ross McGowan (Founder) added…

“We’re excited to be working with SCOTLAND: The Big Picture on this pioneering initiative. Not only are cranes a spectacular species, they could also act as a catalyst for ramping up wetland restoration in the Cairngorms, bringing benefits to local people by reducing flood risk and locking away carbon.”

Further updates and announcements will be made later in the year.

For more information please visit the corresponding project page and rewilding story on the SCOTLAND: The Big Picture website.

Cairngorms Cranes - Lead Corporate Partner
Pete Cairns (SCOTLAND: The Big Picture) and Ross McGowan (Founder) signing the agreement.

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