Kinross Beavers cut the ribbon on new skin at Loch Leven NNR

The new Phoenix Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve (NNR) was unveiled on Friday after being rebuilt after being set on fire.

Mike Cantlay, President of NatureScot, and the Kinross Beavers were on hand to witness the official opening of the wooden birding station.

The hide – formerly known as the Mill Hide and winner of design awards – is in Loch Leven NNR near Kinross. In February 2021 it caught fire and reserve staff, locals and visitors were devastated when it burned down.

Encouraged by numerous offers of support from the community, NatureScot launched an appeal to help fund the replacement, which raised almost £30,000.

One of the first groups to help bring in the money to rebuild it was 1st Kinross Beavers. They did a sponsored walk and donated £500.

They were rewarded by being called upon to cut the ribbon on Friday, May 6 to officially open the new Phoenix Hide, which rises from the ashes.

Reconstruction work began in March.

NatureScot’s Neil Mitchell, the reserve manager who oversaw the rebuild, said: “When the Mill Hide was destroyed last year, we were all absolutely devastated.

Only the shell remained when flames engulfed the Mill Hide in February 2021

“After the fire, what really stood out was how much it was a much loved place for people from near and far to come and connect with nature.

“We were determined to do all we could to rebuild the lookout and cannot express how grateful we are to the local community, businesses and visitors who have so generously contributed to its realization.

Fantastic views of Loch Leven NNR await birdwatchers who stumble upon the new Phoenix Hide
Fantastic views of Loch Leven NNR await birdwatchers who stumble upon the new Phoenix Hide

“Celebrating our newly completed Phoenix Hide is an opportunity to thank local businesses and the community for their incredible support which has highlighted the real value of Loch Leven both to the Kinross community and to visitors near and far.

“The new building looks stunning and I’m sure the staff and locals are all looking forward to returning to this special place.

“If you are visiting in the next few months you can see many fluffy young ducklings munching on the loch’s rich flora and insects, mute swans rearing their cygnets, while herons, kingfishers and ospreys can all be seen. fishing too.

Rufus T. Sifford