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Editor’s Letter


In 1976, when I was 11, my mum and dad decided to take us on a holiday to Scotland during that long, scorching summer.


We stayed at a variety of modest B&Bs in the Cairngorms and made daily, short pilgrimages to Loch Garten, not far from Grantown-on-Spey, to play by the water’s edge, keep cool and little else.


My father had also taken us there because he had already recognised my interest in birdwatching, general love of the outdoors and nature in all its cloaks.


There was also the osprey observatory, run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), at Loch Garten. It was at the end of a dusty path (everything was dusty in 1976!) and was, in truth, little more than a large shed, a couple of wooden flaps and binoculars on chains.


But for its time, it was something of a departure. The RSPB - ever the leaders in conservation – decided the best way to change attitudes was to allow the incredibly rare osprey to be observed at a distance, rather than shut off at secret locations.


In this edition of Mid Kent Living, we celebrate the osprey. The Arlington Reservoir, near Polegate, East Sussex, gets a migratory visitation from this African fish hawk pretty much every year.


As we head into spring, this magnificent bird will be turning up in the most unlikely places in the south east.


But they do seem to like to stop off on their way north at Arlington Reservoir, just over the Kent border, in Sussex where a plentiful supply of recently-stocked rainbow trout gives them the energy to complete the journey. The results are quite spectacular.


Staying with the natural world, the boss of The Big Cat Sanctuary at


Smarden, Giles Clark, is following up his BBC documentary, Tigers About The House, with a new show featuring the adorable baby jaguar, Maya.


As usual, there is so much more.


All the best. Simon Simon Finlay, Editor Race Days 2018


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