With the weather mellowing and greenery starting to flourish, it’s beginning to feel a lot like springtime. Watch as Mother Nature shakes off the grey layers of winter and transforms the landscape into a vibrant wonderland, bursting with vivid colours and curious wildlife. Springtime in Scotland is a truly magical time of the year, so if – like me – you’ve been cocooned in thick layers for the past few months, it might well be time to start thinking about packing away the thermals and getting your heart pumping outdoors instead.
One event that’s sure to coax the whole family outside is Dumfries & Galloway’s Wild Spring Festival. This month-long celebration of spring runs from 5 April to 5 May and features almost 100 wildlife events; many free and most hosted by local wildlife guides. Set amidst beautiful countryside, the festival is the perfect opportunity to encounter an abundance of wildlife while breathing in some fresh spring air.
With the mellow Gulf Stream giving Dumfries & Galloway a lovely warm climate, the area is famous for its lush countryside and varied wildlife. From red deer to red kites and otters to oyster catchers, Dumfries & Galloway is teeming with wildlife for the whole family to encounter. With this in mind the festival has a range of child-friendly events happening throughout the month that are guaranteed to spark young and grown up imaginations alike. Let the kids have a go at building a bird box or bird feeder or take them on a Hedgerow Safari, which has plenty of small mammals for them to discover.
The festival also has some wonderful nocturnal events on offer. Take part in the Stars and Stripes badger watching at dusk, be entertained by the bat adventure in Wigtown or enjoy a brilliant moment star gazing in the remarkable Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
As a special celebration of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming 2014, the festival will also pay tribute to the diverse range of bird species which migrate to and from Dumfries & Galloway. Learn about the graceful whooper swan, the majestic peregrine falcon and the fascinating barnacle goose, whose epic annual migration spans 3,000 km from the Arctic Circle to the Solway Coast.
Photo credit; Destination Dumfries & Galloway/Colin Tennant Photography