Banffshire Coast News

Toddlers splash out in underwater world
Mar 6th 2012

Sea life and a world under water are opening up for youngsters at the Macduff Marine Aquarium.  Weekly sessions that allow toddlers to discover marine wonders are proving to be a hit at Macduff.  The Tots Tuesday adventures allow children to come face-to-face with sea creatures and take part in fun activities.  Children are able to take a journey through the underwater world on trails and treasure hunts to meet lobsters, sharks and jelly-fish.  They can also get their hands on starfish, sea snails and slimy seaweed.  The sessions also include a story-time puppet show which fascinates the young visitors.  Aquarium staff have joined forces with Aberdeenshire's library service to provide exciting stories on watery themes.  Part of the aim is to encourage the enjoyment of books and language at an early age.  The Tots Tuesday sessions from 11.00 to 16.00 will run until the end of March.  Full information is available from the Aquarium on 01261 833369.

Big cat hot spot
Nov 22nd 2011

The gruesome remains of a partly decomposed cat-like animal was photographed by a cyclist on the Banff to Aberchirder road, and published in the Banffshire Journal on November 22. It shows the head of the cat, which has extremely large teeth, and unusual ears and nose. The photo has been passed on to the  Big Cat Society for analysis.
Intriguingly, the location is very close to Cornhill, where there have been photographs taken of large black cats and Scottish wildcats in recent months.

Conger eel on love date from Macduff Aquarium
Nov 15th 2011

Macduff Marine Aquarium have bid a reluctant farewell to one of their biggest residents, a six foot conger eel called Rip. But Rip seemed reluctant to leave, and had to be persuaded to go when he was released into the Moray Firth just outside the aquarium.

The Aquarium's motive on letting Rip return to the wild is both compassionate and passionate. Male congers go through a mid life crisis, when they head for the only time in their lives to the breeding grounds near the Azores, off the African coast, to find a mate, and die.

Rip was named for his habit of tearing food from the divers' hands who hand feed him in the Aquarium's giant 16 five metre tank. After six years at the Aquarium, he was showing the tell-tale signs of unrequited love: leaving his permanent hidey-hole, and swimming in daylight hours.

Rip quite happily went into his escape route, a large bag. But when it was lowered by crane into the firth, it took some persuasion by the Aquarium's divers to entice him from the safety of the bag, and set off on his one way mission.

But he eventually took the plunge and was last seen heading out to sea.

Sea eagle rescued
Nov 7th 2011

An injured sea eagle, originally from Ireland, is recovering after being stranded on seacliffs near Pennan.

Banff-based boat trip operators, North 58 Sea Adventures rallied to the call from the RSPB when a kayaker spotted the exhausted eagle on the cliffs in an inaccessible cove near the RSPB reserve at Troup Head.

While North 58 boat skipper Ian Page struggled against the failing light and a falling tide, brave RSPB sea eagle officer Rhian Evans ran onto the beach, and swam towards the bird to get it off the cliff, before grabbing the bird and getting it on onboard the Buchaneer. She was pictured in the P&J on the Buchaneer, with an ear to ear grin whilst still keeping a firm grip on the massive bird with its hooked beak and razor talons in clear view.

The bird was whisked off the vets to recover from its ordeal.

Early attempts were made to release the bird back to the wild at the Loch of Strathbeg bird reserve near where it was found, but the eagle refused to go.

It has been taklen back intro care, so that vets can check it for oil on its feathers, and to allow it to put on weight.

New! Mobile website for the Banffshire Coast
Nov 3rd 2011

Great news for the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. Our new mobile website is now live on-line, and available to all who use their mobile phones to access the internet.

This is the future! It means that folk in their cars, or in the street can find out where to go, where to shop, where to eat, where to stay etc in our area, just with a few clicks on their mobiles.

The Banffshire Coast mobile website includes some minor mods to make it easier to use and to read on small  phone screens.

Thanks go to our IT gurus at blue square for creating it.

If you don’t have an internet enabled  phone, you can get a look at the mobile website on:  http://m.banffshirecoast.com/  To see how it actually  looks on a phone screen, make your viewing window much narrower. (Of course, it is much smaller on a phone too.)

Banffshire Coast Tourist Group Awarded Promotional Boost
Sep 30th 2011

Banffshire Coast Tourist Partnership were recently awarded £35,000 funding from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council.

Over the next 18 months, tourism businesses along the Banffshire Coast will have the opportunity to participate in several significant marketing initiatives, thanks to a recent funding award of £35,000.

The funding, from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council, will enable the Banffshire Coast Tourism Group to further develop and market the Banffshire Coast as a highly attractive visitor destination.

Roger Goodyear, Chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, commented: "This award is a fantastic opportunity to promote our area to both first time and returning visitors, and follows on from a very successful short marketing campaign run at the beginning of this year which resulted in visits to our website (www.banffshirecoast.com) rising by more than 1500%."

The four marketing initiatives fall under two themes - Outdoor and Ancestral.  A full-colour 48-page pocket Area Guide, to be distributed throughout Scotland and the Banffshire area, will contain high-quality imagery and editorial content to encourage both visits to and wider exploration of the area.  The other three initiatives will focus on the area's strengths of Marine Life, Walking and Birdwatching, and Ancestral.  They will all involve a combination of activities, including the creation of new sections for the website, e-flyer campaigns to targeted market segments, PR trips and familiarisation visits, as well as social media campaigns.  All four initiatives will provide tourism businesses in the area excellent opportunities to advertise their own individual offering.

Roger Goodyear commented further:  "The Banffshire Coast has a wide range of tourism attractions and services, but these have never been brought together in a way which is 'visitor friendly'.  The planned campaigns will draw all of these elements together in one place and promote comprehensive packages and itineraries to those with these specific interests - for the very first time.  We will be showing visitors just how they can spend their time in our area - whether one day, a few days or longer.  By focussing on the web and social media, we will be able to achieve more significant results than the traditional advertising routes which are out of the reach of our budget, as well as utilising the most up-to-date promotional tools.  We are very grateful to our 3 funding partners - without whom we would not be in a position to make this step change in tourism on the Banffshire Coast."

For more information, please contact:  Zillah Jamieson, Director, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership Limited; 01542 840314; zillahj@btinternet.com

Puffin stars on camera
Aug 2nd 2011

A puffin has become the leading actor on TV cameras at Troup Head  bird reserve after it made its burrow right in front of the live bird-watching camera. The colourful little seabird can be watched entering and leaving its burrow, which may have chicks inside.

The final RSPB bird watching evening of the summer at Troup Head takes place on Tuesday, August 9 from 6pm-8pm.

As well as puffins, visitors will be able to watch at close hand the only mainland gannet colony in Britain, with RSPB experts on hand. There are 3,000 pairs of the beautiful seabirds nest on the towering cliffs every summer.

Mystery cat sightings
Jul 19th 2011

Photographs have been published of what is claimed to be a Scottish wildcat and kitten near the village of Cornhill. The pictures appeared in the Banffshire Journal, and are from the same area which produced video footage of what some believed was a big cat species.

There have been other documented sightings of big cats in the past decade, very close to Banff, at nearby Whitehills, and south of Turriff. The Scottish wildcat is an extrememly rare and endangered species, and there have been no recorded sightings in lower Banffshire for many years.

Now nature-watchers to the Banffshire Coast can add another rare creature to their must-see list, on top of dolphins, gannets and seals!

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