In such a contrasting glen it follows that wildlife too should be both diverse and prolific. Careful management of Farms, Estates and reserves have ensured the continued existence of even the most fragile habitats and their inhabitants.
Moorland makes up much of northern Glenisla. The mix of heather, blueberry, moss, wild grasses and many more alpine plants and herbs is ideal for countless different species of mammal, bird and insect. One would be very unfortunate if walking not to see deer, hare, grouse, pipit and buzzard. On occasion perhaps a ptarmigan, snipe, woodcock, plover or even golden eagle.
Winter is long so when spring arrives in May/June insects hatch along with the birds and mammals are born. At this time the wildlife are most vulnerable and great care is taken to reduce disruption.
A trip round farmland or through a mixed woodland should yield roe deer, hares, rabbits, red squirrels, pheasants, pigeons and songbirds in a habitat of trees, hedges, wetlands, arable crops and grassland. A partridge, duck or buzzard could also be expected.
The river Isla is populated with wild brown trout along with several smaller species of fish. Unfortunately there are no salmon beyond the waterfalls Reekie Linn and Slug. It may be possible in future to put in a ladder to allow salmon right up into the upper reaches of the Isla providing ideal spawning grounds.
Probably more notable along the banks of the Isla are the various birds and mammals which can be found. Not so easily spotted as the moorland wildlife there are duck, heron, mink and even rats. From time to time it may even be able to find an otter in the lower reaches where the salmon swim.
The Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park was established in September 2003. It is the UK’s largest National Park at 1,467 sq miles. The CNPA was set up by the Scottish Parliament to ensure that the unique aspects of the Cairngorms - both the natural environment and the local communities - are cared for, sustained and enhanced for current and future generations to enjoy. The CNPA is designed to be an ‘enabling’ organisation promoting partnership and giving leadership to all those involved in the Cairngorms.
The Cairngorms National Park has a large mountain range at its heart with diverse communities around it. It is home to 16,000 people and 25% of Britain’s threatened species. It includes unique mountainous areas of wild land, moorlands, forests, rivers, lochs and glens. Sites designated as of importance to natural heritage take up 39% of the land area – two thirds of these are of Europe-wide importance.
The Park stretches from Grantown on Spey to the heads of the Angus Glens, from Ballater to Dalwhinnie and Drumochter including much of the Laggan area in the southwest and a large area of the Glen Livet estate and the Strathdon/Glen Buchat area.