New Scottish Red Kite Centre opens at Dingwall.

Local MSP Dave Thompson has officially opened Tollie Red Kites, the red kite viewing centre, near Dingwall. Helping him celebrate at Tollie were RSPB regional director George Campbell and Alex Matheson of the Brahan Estate. Also present was the team of local volunteers who daily feed the kites.

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Mr Thompson said: “I am delighted to be present at this opening. It is great to see this level of co-operation between a private estate and the RSPB. I believe that Tollie will become a very valuable facility for educational purposes and will help to bring people closer to nature. My congratulations to all those concerned.”

Alex Matheson of the Brahan Estate said: “We are delighted to be able to host the excellent Tollie Red Kite centre on the Brahan Estate. It gives school groups, tourists and local residents the opportunity to watch the red kites feed and conduct their spectacular aerial displays. It is a wonderful good news story that we hope will highlight what can be achieved when we all work together and balance varied land use, public access to the countryside and good quality environmental management.”

George Campbell of the RSPB added: “The reintroduction of red kites to the Black Isle has been one of the conservation highlights in the North of Scotland of recent years. These are truly beautiful birds and I am delighted that Tollie provides visitors and local people with an opportunity to see the birds at close range in such an attractive location. Our thanks must go to our partner, the Brahan Estate, to our wonderful team of volunteers who help to feed the birds and look after the facility, and to the funding partners who include Highland LEADER, SSE, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Government.

“Just before Mr Thompson left, a red kite could be heard whistling and, shortly afterwards, two birds flew over the Centre – a suitable send off!”

Tollie Red Kites was established in 2010 as a partnership between RSPB Scotland and the Brahan Estate. Since that time a viewing facility has established based on a derelict farm building on the estate. Every day the red kites are fed by a team of local volunteers – at 2.30pm during the summer months and at 1.30pm when the clocks change.More information on Tollie Red Kites is available at: www.rspb.org.uk/tollieredkites

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