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The Highland Council helping make our world brilliant with WWF's Earth Hour

18th March 2015

Photograph of The Highland Council helping make our world brilliant with WWF's Earth Hour

The Highland Council is helping to build a brighter future by supporting WWF's Earth Hour, a spectacular and symbolic lights out event that focuses the world's attention on our planet, and the need to protect it.

On 28th March, at 8.30pm, The Highland Council will be joining forces with thousands of iconic landmarks globally, from The Sydney Harbour Bridge to Times Square in New York, as they show their support. Earth Hour’s unique display of darkness has become a global phenomenon with hundreds of millions of individuals coming together each year. In 2014, a record-breaking 162 countries and 7,000 towns and cities joined the world’s biggest celebration for our planet.

Last year in Scotland thousands of people took part, sending out a united message of support. Participating Scottish landmarks included Edinburgh Castle, Forth Rail Bridge, Inverness Castle and Falkirk Wheel. They were among 200 of the UK’s most iconic landmarks to plunge into darkness, alongside Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.

To celebrate Earth Hour 2015, as well as the Council arranging for the floodlighting to be switched off at key landmarks including Ruthven Barracks, Kingussie, Inverness Castle, Inverness Cathedral, Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit, and Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie, the Council’s Rangers will be hosting four special Earth Hour themed events on Saturday 28 March in Beauly, Caithness, Skye and Carrbridge.

In Beauly people are being encouraged to turn everything off at home and join the Rangers for a torch lit walk down to the river to spot nocturnal wildlife, listen to stories and embrace the darkness. Anyone coming along should bring a torch and meet up at the gate entrance to the Beauly Priory at 7.30pm for this hour and a half adventure.

In Caithness the Rangers have joined up with the Caithness Astronomy Group to celebrate Earth Hour. People are invited to come along to Dunnet Beach from 7pm to 9.30pm to take their pick of activities. On offer is a moonlit sweetie hunt along Dunnet Beach using night navigation, lantern making at the Seadrift Centre, a slide-show highlighting the wonders of the Caithness skies and giving a snapshot of the earth from space and guided star gazing sessions. The evening will end with warm drinks and toasted marshmallows around an open fire on the beach. Booking is essential so anyone wishing to come along should contact Ranger Paul Castle on 01847 821531 and be prepared to bring along a sense of adventure, wellington boots, warm clothing, binoculars and a torch.

Over on the Isle of Skye, Durnish is the location for a guided night-time wander through woodland and open moor listening out for wildlife and doing some star gazing. This nocturnal walk runs from 8pm to 9.30pm and hot drinks and home baking will be provided. Places must be booked in advance by giving Ranger Ellie MacLennan a call on 01471 820527.

The final Ranger Earth Hour is described as a Ghost Walk and takes place from 7.30pm to 10pm in Carrbridge. Why not join the Rangers as they explore Ellan Wood and the riverside path by head torch? They’ll be the chance to listen to the sounds of the night and look upwards to admire the stars and planets. Suitable for families, and well behaved dogs, the evening includes hot chocolate and cake in the woods. Anyone wishing to come along should meet up at Carrbridge Community Woodland just before 7.30pm.

Convenor of the Highland Council, Councillor Jimmy Gray said: "The Council has participated in Earth Hour each year since it began in 2008 and we were delighted last month when we were presented with an award from WWF Scotland for the work we’ve done to promote the event. We are proud to again be taking part and I hope as many people as possible come along to join our Rangers to mark this global switch-off on Saturday 28th March or feel excited and inspired to think of their own ways of taking part. Turning your indoor and outdoor lights off at home for an hour, going outside to enjoy the night sky by torch-lit or joining with friends to organise a candle-lit meal are just some ideas. Everyone can make a difference to help protect our planet and we all have a key role to play."

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: "We’re thrilled that The Highland Council will be taking part in WWF’s Earth Hour again and hope that many others will be inspired to get involved. Earth Hour is more than just an hour of darkness, it’s a community of people who are sharing their love for our planet and taking action to protect it every day. By taking one simple step to switch off, you’ll be joining millions of people from around the world in this special celebration."

Earth Hour is more than an hour; from crowdfunding to campaigns to protect The Great Barrier Reef or The Amazon, Earth Hour is having a real and lasting impact beyond the hour. Last year in the UK 85% of adults that participated in Earth Hour (NfP Synergy 2014) said that taking part inspired them to do more to protect the planet. It’s a brilliant reminder that together we can make change happen and a chance to think about the small things we can do every day to help create a brighter future.

Everyone can sign up for WWF’s Earth Hour 2015. For more information and to sign up please visit wwfscotland.org.uk/earthhour.

Full details of the Council Rangers Earth Hour events can be found in their 2015 activity booklet which lists all walks, events and activities running across the Highlands during the year. The booklet is now available and people can now check out all the events online at www.outdoorhighlands.co.uk/calendar or pick up a hard copy from their local Ranger, the local library, Service Point or Tourist Information office. Anyone can also email ranger[AT]highland.gov.uk

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