Iain Stewart visits Ayrshire and discovers the engineering and environmental challenges of re-routing the River Nith. Particular attention was paid to creating a habitat that would encourage salmon in the river. Visiting the Cairngorms, Iain hears there is more to the postcard perfect views than meets the eye Iain discovers the riches of Ariundle oakwoods in Sunart
The River Nith is Scotland's seventh longest river. It rises in East Ayrshire, flowing largely through Dumfries and Galloway before entering the Solway Firth at Dumfries.
The upper reaches of the river flow through an area of open cast coal mines. Around 2000, coal was discovered under the river. The decision was taken to divert a 3km stretch of river, allowing the existing course to be mined. Three years after that, coal was found underneath the river's new path, so it was diverted again. Yet in spite of the scale of the intervention, the fisheries board who manage the river believe the river environment is now better than it was before the move.
East Ayrshire is one of Scotland’s 32 unitary council areas. It was formed in 1996 from the former Kilmarnock and Loudon and Cumnock and Doon Valley districts.
It borders North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway.