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Daily journalists decamp 100 miles north as part of major investigation

A daily newspaper has launched a major investigation into the impact of population decline on the Scottish Highlands.

Glasgow-based daily The Herald launched its series of articles entitled ‘The New Highlands Clearances’ on Monday.

As part of the series, the newspaper’s staff travelled more than 100 miles north to Fort William yesterday where they set up a temporary office at the town’s Highland Cinema.

It is the first time in the Herald’s 240-year history that it has been put together outside of Glasgow.

Senior reporter Caroline Wilson kicked off the series by writing about her own experiences of having grown up in the Highlands.

“Staying at home was only really held up as an option for less academically inclined pupils at that time,” she wrote.

“This is about appropriately priced accommodation of the right sort in the right places; decent transport and digital links; childcare facilities and schools; leisure facilities; and so on.

“These are the barriers that heavily impact people living here, and which act as a barrier to Highlanders wishing to move back.”

Editor Catherine Salmond said: “This is a vitally important series and I am incredibly proud of my team for their work.”

She posted yesterday:  “Delighted at the response to @heraldscotland being in town. So far, we’ve been speaking with business owners, a health worker and a young house hunter.   We’ve set up in @HighlandCinema. A busy and productive day.”

BBC journalist Catriona MacPhee was among those who have praised the series.

She posted: “I’m one of those who left for study, then work. I’m 15th generation MacPhee in Lochaber but my kids will never call it home. Find the loss of that heritage/culture/roots v sad sometimes. Will follow coverage with interest.”