Communities

There has been progress on many fronts in connecting communities more closely with their rivers, increasing understanding of what the water environment has to offer and its importance to everyday lives. Awareness and management of flood risk has improved.

More people are actively enjoying responsible and active recreation around our rivers, and schools, community groups and volunteers have more opportunities to learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the catchment, and get involved.

Upgrades and a significant extension to the Speyside Way have made this iconic route running the length of the Spey even more attractive for active recreation, and this and other riverside paths are well used, including by local Health Walk groups.

SCI delivered improvements to the popular canoe launch area in Aviemore in 2019, addressing problematic erosion and making the area safer and more attractive for all visitors. Wader watching is now a major draw in the Avon catchment thanks to a new hide at Tomintoul. SFB runs the popular Salmon in the Classroom programme for three primary schools each year, and numbers of attendees at the annual Spey Opening Ceremony have been boosted massively now it is streamed online.

Projects in the catchment are much appreciated as demonstration sites for a range of audiences; over the five years 1250 people benefitted from face to face engagement and knowledge transfer through SCI-led site visits, events and presentations.

Examples of key successes from 2017 - 2021:

Canoe access point improves in Aviemore

SCI’s project to upgrade the canoe launch area at Aviemore has halted excessive erosion and made the site safer and more attractive for all users.

Awareness and educational tours held at River Calder project

Numerous interested groups, from international professional organisations to local school children have learnt about protecting and enhancing the river by visiting projects sites like this one on the River Calder to see for themselves.

Volunteers involved in riparian tree planting

A group of local volunteers braving winter conditions on the Spey to help plant riparian trees were one of many volunteers parties who gave hands on help with projects in the catchment.

New bird hide installed outside Tomintoul

This new, fully accessible bird hide installed by RSPB just outside Tomintoul is encouraging more people to enjoy watching the variety of wading birds on the flood plain of the River Conglass.