It wasn’t all bad
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.