Everyone loves visiting Calgary Bay. We appreciate the white sand and turquoise sea, but most don’t realise the walk from the car park down to the shore crosses one of Europe’s rarest habitats, found only in North West Scotland and Ireland; nowhere else in the world. Known by its Gaelic name machair, this unique herb-rich shell-sand grassland is notable for its dazzling array of wild flowers which attract a wealth of invertebrates and birds.
The machair has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), reflecting its national importance. However, the ‘low sward height and the inability of most machair flowers to set seed’ means that the SSSI is currently in ‘unfavourable declining’ condition. This is the result of overgrazing.
Friends of Calgary Bay, have been working with the local grazier, land owner and SNH to introduce a grazing management scheme. This is common practice in other areas and only requires the removal of sheep for the four months of the growing season. The only practical way to achieve this is by fencing. Full public access would remain and grazing would resume from September onwards. The seaward line of fencing will be hidden in the dunes, so will not be visually obtrusive.
All avenues of funding have been explored and crowdfunding is the only quick way to raise the money for the fencing. This is where we need your help. We only have six weeks to raise £12,000. Please help us bring the machair back to life by donating on the JustGiving page found on Facebook, Friends of Calgary Bay page, and twitter. (Twitter: @CalgaryBayMull JustGiving:
Gates, wire, posts and labour are expensive but with your help we can make 2017 the year we restore the machair so we can all enjoy the colour and fragrance of thyme, lady’s bedstraw, eyebright and orchids.