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Exploring the Highlands of Scotland

30 Sep 2021 4:15PM

After a long wait, field trips and in-person lectures are back for Wildlife students at the University of Suffolk.

First on the agenda was a 7-day residential trip to the Highlands of Scotland to study some of Britain’s most iconic wildlife. 

The students on the BSc (Hons) Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science degree stayed at the award-winning Aigas Field Centre, which is owned by one of Britain’s best-known conservationists, naturalists and nature writers Sir John Lister-Kaye, and will be familiar to viewers of the BBC’s Autumnwatch and Winterwatch having featured in both.

Course Leader, Dr Christopher Turner, said, “This was an amazing opportunity for our students to study some of Britain’s rarest animals in the wild.  Our students visited many sites and habitats around the Highlands and got to observe beavers, pine martens, dolphins, ospreys and golden eagles at very close distance. We met with trained local rangers and were able to learn about the current threats to the native wildlife.”  

“On one of the days, we hiked to the top of a mountain called Stac Pollaidh and got amazing views of the surrounding area and celebrated our achievement by cooling off in a nearby loch and also enjoyed an evening around a campfire and a whiskey tasting session!”

Student Ben Ellis said, “Seeing the large-flowered European butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora), round leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), and great English sundew (Drosera anglica) in the wild was fascinating!”

Fellow student Lily Sparrow added “A recipe for a successful field trip in the Scottish Highlands: first, combine a strenuous mountain hike with a visit to the loch beneath. Add a handful of red squirrel spottings, and two golden eagle and osprey sightings. Pair with bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic salmon for good measure. Wash down with single malt Scotch whisky, with badgers and pine martens to finish. Slàinte mhath!”

The degree programme at Suffolk covers animal and plant ecology, marine and freshwater biology, wildlife behaviour and environmental and conservation science. It is run in partnership with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Colchester Zoo and in close association with a wide range of environmental and conservation organisations.

In addition to field trips within the UK, when travel restrictions permit, students on the course also get the opportunity to study at Action for the Wild’s UmPhafa nature reserve in South Africa. 

To find out more about studying BSc (Hons) Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science please visit or register to attend the University’s Open Day on Saturday 9 October


University of Suffolk Press Office