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Northern Lights: Top photography tips

Tonight is the best chance to see the Northern Lights in our region for a long time.

No guarantees - but if it does happen you might want to know how to photograph it.

Viewer Alison Leddy has given us her top tips for capturing the phenomenon on camera.

Go as far away from any light pollution as possible and look to the north for clear dark skies.

The coast is generally the best.

Be prepared for a long wait and keep taking photos and checking on your camera.

– Alison Leddy
Alison captured this shot earlier this year Credit: Alison Leddy

A lot of the time it isn't visible to the naked eye but because you are doing a long exposure, your camera's sensor picks up the light and colours.

Best tip ever is to wrap up warm, it could turn into a long night.

– Alison Leddy

If you do get a picture you can email me your pictures to:

weatherpics@itv.com

Or Tweet me:

@Ross_Hutchinson

And good luck!!

Cumbrian historic lead mine given £250,000

Commercial mining began here 300 years ago Credit: ITV Border

A historic lead mine has been given a quarter of a million pounds to help preserve it for future generations.

Nenthead Mines on the Cumbrian/ Northumbrian border has received the money from Natural England. Commercial mining began at the site 300 years ago and the conservation work will begin today.

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Dirt trapped diggers to be freed in a few days

Northern Powergrid are hoping to remove two diggers, trapped in a rare bog in Cumbria, within a few days.

Two machines became trapped in the area of scientific interest last week. Environmentalists are worried this will cause damage to the area, Butterburn Flow, which is considered to be the most important site of its kind in England.

"Our contractors were completing a project to replace wooden electricity poles in the area, when their vehicles got into difficulty.

Close consultation is taking place with Natural England to ensure they are retrieved from the site in a controlled and careful manner with no lasting impact on the local environment.

This work has started and we hope to have the vehicles removed in the next few days."

– Spokesperson for Northern Powergrid

Diggers get that sinking feeling

A second digger became stuck when it tried to help the first digger Credit: Mark Crawford

Environmentalists fear damage is likely to have been done to a rare piece of upland peat bog in Cumbria after two large diggers got stuck.

The two pieces of machinery got trapped last week in Butterburn Flow near Gilsland - a remote area of bog that's been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

It's believed one of the digger drivers was trying to take a short cut across the 1,000 acre site when it got stuck. Another digger that went to rescue it also sank in the bog.

They were working for Northern Powergrid helping to replace wooden electricity poles.

Emma Austin from Natural England said she was particularly worried about fuel leaking from the machines.

"It is a sensitive community. It's rare. The threat we've got immediately is from oil pollution. Our priority is to get them off with as minimum damage as possible."

– Emma Austin from Natural England

The vehicles are stuck about a mile from the nearest road. A temporary metal road surface will be laid across the bog to near the stranded diggers. A chain will then be attached to them and they will be dragged free.

Butterburn Flow is considered to be the most important site of its kind in England. Known as "blanket mire" it contains bog mosses including Sphagnum moss and many other rare plants as well as breeding wader birds.

The two diggers are stuck on an area of 'Scientific Interest' and environmentalists fear it could damage the site
Two diggers are stuck in the bog Credit: ITV Border

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Diseased trees pose threat to Galloway forest

Thousands of trees are being felled across South West Scotland, to tackle the spread of a disease affecting Larches. The Galloway Forest Park has the greatest number of infected trees in the UK, and won't be free of it for another two years.

Larch Disease was first noticed in Devon and Cornwall in 2010, before spreading to Wales in 2011 and the West of Scotland in 2012, but the biggest outbreak of the disease by far has been in Galloway.

Felling in the Galloway Forest Park has been taking place continually since 2012, and since then 1,300 hectares of larch have been taken down, that's about the equivalent of 2,000 football pitches.

Our reporter Fiona McIlwraith has been to meet the forestry commission to find out how the work is going.

Dry summers needed to reduce tree disease

Larch trees have been cut down for several year to try and stop the disease Credit: ITV Border

A tree disease threatens other species if it spreads in Galloway Forest Park.

Larch trees have been cut down for many years but hasn't rid the disease. However, good weather has helped to reduce the spread of disease.

Dry weather can stop the disease spores from spreading Credit: Forestry Commission, Scotland

"Having had two relatively good dry summers, springs and summers in 2013 and 2014 this year, it appears that the disease doesn't spread as far if the weather is dry and not too windy, it needs wind and rain, moisture to move it, move the spores through the atmosphere.

We're not complacent in saying that if we remove our larch that's the disease gone, it's not guaranteed not to jump onto other species, but we think that by a combination of good weather for us, bad weather for the disease and felling the larch we will reduce the level of spores to an absolute minimum and hopefully it wont jump to another species and cause the same sort of damage that it's caused to the larch."

– Bill Fisher, Forestry Commission Scotland

Leprosy becomes new threat to red squirrel

Southern Scotland is a stronghold for red squirrels - it's one of the top populations for the endangered species in the country. Despite the numbers, they still face a number of issues such as loss of habitat, squirrel pox and now leprosy.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust are keen to empahsis it's not a massive problem, but our reporter Fiona McIlwraith went out to one nature reserve near Lockerbie to find out more.

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