The lectures are intended not only to be of interest in themselves but also to publicise the work of the Trust. Attendances throughout the winter have been encouragingly high. NEMT is very grateful to the speakers for giving their time and, in some cases, travelling considerable distances. I am handing on the organisation of the lectures for 2009/10 to Brian Heaton and I would like to thank everyone on the Council for their support and practical help on the evenings themselves. Brian would welcome suggestions for topics and speakers.
Lindsay Cannon [October 08 - From Molehills to Mountains] launched the series with an exploration of her journey from Galloway hill farmer, through media presenter, to guide amongst the European Alps. Her focus was on the plants, wildlife and characters she has come across in the mountains, all brought to life through superb photos and amusing reminiscences.
A large gathering welcomed Hamish Brown [November 08 - A Celebration of Scotland]. His enthusiasm for everything in the Scottish outdoors- trees, birds, animals and lochs, as well as hills- remains undimmed and was presented in a 'multi-media' style with music, poetry, slides and anecdotes. His concerns regarding the erosion of the adventurous side of outdoor education introduced a serious subtext to a very entertaining lecture.
Patagonia is not a place many of us have visited and who better to guide us round the Grand Circuit of Torres del Paine than Bob Davis, local naturalist, writer and photographer [December 08 - Torres del Paine- an Andean Paradise]. Whilst the grandeur of the mountains and glaciers was the centre piece, Bob's eyes didn't miss the flora, fauna and valley scenery.
Dave Genney of SNH [January 09 - Changing Climates and the Cairngorms] is co-ordinating research into what effect climate change may be having on plants relying on late lying snow. Dave put this specialist area into the context of how vegetation in the Cairngorms has altered since the last ice age and what current knowledge suggests may happen to the ecology of our premier mountain range in the future.
Starting in the 1970s, when there were only three extremes on the sea- cliffs and a friend was someone who belayed you, Neil Morrison [February 09 - Cummingston to Clova- Thirty Years of Climbing on the North East Outcrops] celebrated the waves of development which have taken place since then. Granite, sandstone, bolting, bouldering, landmark climbs, historically important photos and tales of the characters involved, often in extraordinary attire, were all in a mix peppered with humorous asides.
Kevin Howett [March 09 - Scottish Kraken beneath my Feet] began his climbing in Devon before moving inexorably northwards via Lundy, North Wales and Ireland before finding his Nirvana on the great sea cliffs of the remotest Hebrides. His lecture demonstrated that, despite our shrinking planet, adventurous pioneering in the most beautiful of settings is still to be found in abundance in Scotland.
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