Scotland

Dragons on the Hills

Frog in stream (taken by Rob Williams) May 2012 (7)Very little is known about the amphibians and reptiles in the wild places of Scotland – especially in terms of abundance and distribution.  These species are highly under-recorded in the hills and this comes mostly down to issues relating to accessibility and logistics.

Walking is Scotland’s most popular past-time while 60% of Scotland’s land could be termed hill / mountain.  Scotland also has the highest mountain in the UK and the most remote hiking areas.

The aim of Dragons on the Hills is to engage those who enjoy Scotland’s wild places and encourage them to participate in species recording during their activities which we hope will in turn increase the species records of amphibians and reptiles in under-recorded areas.

Dragons on the Hills will work alongside the following;

  • Mountaineering Council of Scotland
  • Ramblers Scotland
  • Scottish Wild Land Group
  • John Muir Award
  • Local hill-walking groups
  • Scottish Outdoor Education Centres

With these partners, Froglife will deliver 9 workshops across Scotland to enable 200 walkers and outdoor enthusiasts in the identification of amphibians and reptiles and subsequent submission of records, and the promotion of species recording in related media.

Overall these actions will aim to engage outdoor enthusiasts and hill-walkers, empowering them with the knowledge to identify amphibians and reptiles whilst enjoying their past-time and encouraging them to submit records through our easy-to-use Dragon Finder App.

What’s new:

We’ve had two great Dragons on the Hills workshops this year with the Aberdeen & Glasgow Ramblers in Aberdeenshire and on the Isle of Skye with the Glasgow University Mountaineering Club. We described how to spot and identify amphibians and reptiles whilst also holding a quiz with Glasgow University recapping what we learnt.

If you would like to do your part for Scottish Dragon Finder you can submit your sightings of amphibians and reptiles you see when out and about! Version 2 of our free recording app is now updated and ready for you to use.  See here for more information!

 

Isle of Skye with the Glasgow University Mountaineering Club

 

Year 3:

Dragons on the Hills walks were undertaken in Autumn 2016 in the Perth and Kinross area with one unfortunately cancelled due to bad weather – however more sessions were planned for 2017.

 

Year 2: 

Froglife delivered a Dragons on the Hills training workshop in the Scottish Borders in May 2015.  Our latest workshops were held in September 2015 – Rannoch Walkers (Perth and Kinross) and Brechin Ramblers Group (Angus) hosted Froglife on one of their organised walks.  Froglife staff pointed out wildlife on the walk and talked to the group about amphibians and reptiles in Scotland and why sightings are so important to our work.

Year 1:

Dragons on the Hills training workshops were delivered on the Isle of Arran and Aberfoyle.  Attendees were taught about how to identify different amphibians and reptiles that are found in Scotland and the workshop concluded with a local walk to check reptile mats and try to identify lizards and snakes in the wild.