The history of nature conservation and recreation in the Cairngorms, 1880-1980
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This thesis presents the history of nature conservation and recreation in the Cairngorms area of the eastern Highlands of Scotland, over the century 1880-1980. An introductory chapter sets the scene by describing the observations of travellers, sportsmen and naturalists who visited the area from c.1770. The study then traces the history of the National Park debate in the Cairngorms area (and to an extent, in Scotland), the history of the National Forest Park ideal focusing in on Glenmore, and the history of two National Nature Reserves, including the Cairngorms NNR (the largest in Great Britain). Other chapters address, within an historical framework, the public nature conservation success story of the Osprey on Speyside; the nineteenth and twentieth century rights of way debate and the question of access to mountains and moorland; the development of Aviemore and the Spey Valley as a year-round recreational playground and winter sports centre. Photography and film-making are highlighted as mediums through which nature conservation and recreation have been legitimised and popularised for a mass audience outside the Cairngorms area. The thesis discusses the background to the present landuse conflicts that have dogged the Cairngorms area from 1980, and may prove helpful to land-managers and policymakers in government, conservation and recreation bodies, as it charts the remarkable degree of change in attitudes to nature conservation and recreation witnessed in the Cairngorms. Recreation has always been seen to directly benefit more people, but it is the quality of the environment that supports that recreation. The Cairngorms represent a case study in this kind of conflict, which over the past century has become increasingly common in the UK, Europe and North America. The work is a contribution to the construction of a modem environmental history of Great Britain.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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