Video: Exploring the Rewilding of the Scottish Highlands in 'Among Green Soldiers'

Jul 11, 2021
by The Contour Collective  

Words: The Contour Collective

Across the mountain biking community Scotland is known for its impressive trails and riding locations. As riders we often take these areas for granted and with the Scottish access rights riders can venture most places without issue provided they maintain a level of respect and responsibility for the land. It’s only in recent years that we’ve become fully aware of the degraded condition of the landscape around us. It might look pristine, wild and alive but the once rich landscape has had continued pressures and exploitation driving it’s biodiversity down....and down....and down. While those downs in the hills might be spectacular and exhilarating there's a whole bigger situation playing out around us that is important to be aware of.

The Contour Collective took the opportunity to understand more about the rewilding efforts being made in the Cairngorm National Park while enjoying the riding and adventure it offers. This film explores the rewilding work amongst other topics with Chris Hutchens and Christo Gallagher gleaning more on the subject from Ronan Duggan an ecologist working on one of the estates spearheading the recovery of the Scottish Glens - Glen Feshie.

In the UK and within Scotland specifically current biodiversity, or lack of, highlights a real need for action to restore the lands to what they once were pre industrial ages. While Scotland ranks the highest out of the UK nations it remains 28th from the bottom in a recent study by the Natural History Museum comparing biodiversity intactness out of 240 countries included. There really is a long way to go however the Green Soldiers are part of the road to recovery and improving these landscapes.

When the clouds clear and the sun shines the Scottish mountains and riding can rival the best locations in the world. Chris and Christo crossing into the treeline after descending from the high summits in the Cairngorms

These young trees represent an ongoing effort to restore the hillside back to its former self

From the valley floor the terrain changes quickly and after riding through the old Scots Pines the hard work reaching the summit begins

Standing on top of one of Scotland munros is a feeling you can't beat. Especially at 6am as the sun is rising and the cold wind penetrates through your many layers. There's only one way to warm up and that's descending down one of the many hill paths we have access to in Scotland

The landscape on the high plateau is bare of trees until much lower down. The balance between rider and nature is a complex one while the reward for reaching the summit of the Munros in Scotland is unbeatable


This film was made possible thanks to Funn. Thanks to Ronan Duggan for taking the time to share his views on the rewilding efforts in the Cairngorms.

Ronan Duggan sharing his views on the rewilding efforts and leading the train down towards Glen Feshie.

For more information on the conservation projects mentioned the below links provide further details as a starting point.

Cairngorms Connect

Wildland Scotland

This film was conceptualised and directed by The Contour Collective. Filming and Editing by Thomas Hogben and music by Loom. All images are by Douglas Somerville.

For more information on The Contour Collective please visit The Contour Collective


Posted In:
Stories Videos

Author Info:
thecontourcollective avatar

Member since Jan 4, 2021
7 articles

  • 9 0
 These guys have captured the essence of mountain biking.
  • 8 0
 Loved this, great work guys.
  • 4 0
 Excellent. As an ecologist myself, I quite like this "rewilding" concept that is based on natural restoration & regeneration of ecosystems & the landscape. Well done Scotland!
  • 6 0
 Really liked this story. Beautiful project.
  • 5 0
 WOW to everyone involved. Unreal project, unreal video and what a stunning part of the world, new bucket list rides added!
  • 4 0
 Used to love this this part of the world when I lived in the old country
  • 4 0
 This is good.
  • 2 0
 Best video I've seen in awhile. Totally inspiring on many levels. Kudos!
  • 1 0
 Beautiful work and landscape!!

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