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Linlithgow Big Loch Bird Watch

15 January 2008

Join the rangers at Linlithgow Palace for an afternoon of bird watching as part of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch on Sunday 27th January.

Play your part in the world’s biggest bird survey by bringing along your binoculars and helping the rangers count the winter wildfowl and garden birds.

A record-breaking 460,000 people took part in the last survey by counting the birds in their garden for an hour and then sending their results to the RSPB.

As well as bird watching the rangers are offering you the chance to build feeders to encourage even more birds into the area.

Ian Lewis, Historic Scotland countryside ranger, explains: “Water birds on the loch have come here from the far north as they think winter in Linlithgow is easy. Garden birds on the other hand find winter very hard, we need people to come along and help us build bird feeders to make life a little easier for them.”

“Linlithgow Loch is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its large wildfowl population and this location is an important natural habitat for an abundance of bird life. Our aim with these events is to encourage people to appreciate nature and the extensive and diverse range of birds which can be found here and around the local area.”

The Big Loch Birdwatch takes place at 13:00 on Sunday 27th January.  As places are limited it is best to book in advance by calling 01506 842065 or emailing This event is suitable for all ages and younger children (under six) should be accompanied by an adult.

Notes for editors

The magnificent ruins of Linlithgow Palace - set in the Royal Park or Peel, beside Linlithgow Loch - are situated in Linlithgow, off the M9.  Tel: 01506 842896.  Admission: adult £5.00, child £2.50, concessions £4.00.

The Palace is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots in 1542 and her father, James V, who was born in 1512.  All of the Stewart kings lived here, and numerous renovations to its grand facades and chambers were carried out as each monarch sought to create the ideal modern palace. A royal manor had been on the site of the Palace since the 12th century. It was transformed by the English into a modern secure stronghold around 1302 before returning  to Scottish hands in 1314. A fire in 1424 destroyed the stronghold and burgh of Linlithgow and James I then started building the structure we have today. Under James IV, it developed into a courtyard palace, while James V and James VI made major contributions to what had become the finest palace of the Stewart kings.

Blackness Castle is situated four miles north-east of Linlithgow, on the Firth of Forth, off the A904.  Tel: 01506 834807.  Admission: adult £4.00, child £2.00, concessions £3.00.

Blackness sits at the seaport which, in medieval times, served the royal burgh of Linlithgow.  The first castle was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.  But Blackness was never destined to serve as a peaceful lordly residence.  In 1453, it became a royal castle and its enduring roles were those of garrison fortress and state prison. In 1537, works started which transformed the castle into one of the most formidable artillery fortifications in Scotland. In 1650 it was besieged and badly damaged by Cromwell’s army but repaired under King Charles II and the restored fortress was then used to incarcerate Covenanters.

Linlithgow Palace is one of 345 splendid properties and sites throughout the country – from prehistoric dwellings and stone circles, castles and palaces, to abbeys and cathedrals -  in the care of Historic Scotland.  These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:

Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information

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