Land of the Eagles - Mark Iandolo

"All that the sun shines on is beautiful, as long as it is wild.”

I found these words written on a sign in Glen Sligachan after entering the Isle of Skye. The author of the words? John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist who was pivotal in preserving the environment around the dawn of the twentieth century.

The Sligachan sign also tells of a hiking path leading through the glen into the heart of the Cuilin Special Protection Area, one of the best places in the British Isles for spotting golden eagles.

Many people regard the Cuilins as among the most majestic mountain ranges in Britain; just as many probably regard the golden eagle as among the most majestic birds of prey in the world. But, according to the sign, few people know the importance of the Cuilins to the eagles. Eight pairs of golden eagles nest within the glens and among the peaks of these rocky mountains. The wild area is therefore protected – it has been safeguarded by the John Muir Trust since 1991.

The John Muir Trust envisions “A world where wild places are protected and enhanced, and valued by and for everyone” – a statement that would make its namesake proud. Muir’s inspirational writing affected change; he helped preserve Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park (among others) in America through his letters, essays and books.

And his quote, written proudly by the trust on that sign in Glen Sligachan, has stuck with me. Muir dedicated his life to protecting nature; his words inspire me to join the cause.

Let’s keep this earth wild.

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