By Marie-Renee Goulet

  • World Premiere **Awarded Best Film – Mountain Environment & Natural History 
  • 58 minutes, United Kingdom – Mountain Environment & Natural History

I had the chance to visit Scotland a few years ago. I remember making the following comment to a friend: “The Highlands are so beautiful that it looks as if it was professionally landscaped, a postcard in every direction.” It turns out that I was on to something as there is extensive land management being done.

There are over 350,000 red deer in Scotland, and they have a massive impact on the landscapes of the Highlands. They can eat and strip vast parts of the landscape. Therefore, deer are culled each year in an attempt to manage their impact. Over the last 60 years, a debate has raged regarding the size, nature, and purpose of the deer cull. Should deer be protected? Should the commercial harvest of the deer continue? Or should the glens and mountains be returned to the wild? There are no natural predators in Scotland; shall we release a few wolves? And if so, what happens to the people that call these places home?

You truly can see merits on all sides of the debate. There are no bad guys here. Different conservation and re-wilding concepts are discussed with landowners, sheep farmers, environmental activists, and entrepreneurs. Ted Simpson, the director, leaves it up to you to decide who is right or wrong. This is an engaging and stunningly beautiful documentary.

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