It wasn’t all bad

The Week - - News -

The Gov­ern­ment has backed a plan to plant 50 mil­lion trees in a 120-mile cor­ri­dor be­tween Liver­pool and Hull. The North­ern For­est will be a mix of na­tive broadleaf trees and conifers, and is in­tended both to cre­ate a habi­tat for bats, birds and red squir­rels, and to be within reach of hu­man vis­i­tors from Leeds and Manch­ester. Min­is­ters have pledged £5.7m to the project, which is ex­pected to cost £500m; the Wood­land Trust has com­mit­ted £10m. Plant­ing is to be­gin in March.

The first po­lar bear to be born in Bri­tain for 25 years is be­ing cared for by its mother in Scot­land. Vic­to­ria (pic­tured right, with fa­ther, Ark­tos) gave birth at the High­land Wildlife Park, near Kin­gussie, last month. Lit­tle is known about the new­born be­cause po­lar bear cubs are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble in the first three months of life, so keep­ers are only get­ting close enough to check that the drink­ing wa­ter out­side the den hasn’t frozen. Weigh­ing lit­tle more than a guinea pig, new­borns open their eyes only af­ter their first month; this cub is ex­pected to re­main in its den un­til late Fe­bru­ary at the ear­li­est.

A team of model rail­way en­thu­si­asts has con­structed the world’s long­est model rail­way, stretch­ing 73 miles across the Scot­tish High­lands, from Fort Wil­liam to In­ver­ness. The route cov­ers ter­rain so steep and so wild that Vic­to­rian en­gi­neers had to aban­don their ef­forts to build a rail­way there. Led by re­tired en­gi­neer Dick Straw­bridge, the vol­un­teers used 11 lorry-loads of PVC track. They worked day and night, sleep­ing by the line and mov­ing camp each morn­ing. Their ef­forts are now the sub­ject of a Chan­nel 4 se­ries.

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