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'Don't risk it!' – Warning as clear-up of storm damage in Highland forests continues

By John Davidson

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FLS has been conducting a helicopter survey of the damage to its sites. Picture: FLS
FLS has been conducting a helicopter survey of the damage to its sites. Picture: FLS

People are being urged not to risk their own safety by entering forests where storm damage is still being assessed and cleared.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is working to clear up damage caused by winter storms to forests across the north, including in the Great Glen and in Strathspey.

A helicopter survey of the area has been undertaken to assess the scale and impact of the damage that includes fallen trees and blocked roads.

It is anticipated that in some locations work could take months with extensive tree clearance works and trail repairs needed.

Paul Hibberd, area visitor services manager at FLS, said: “The helicopter survey of the area was the most efficient and safest way to get an overview of the situation given many forest roads are blocked with fallen trees.

Wind blow at Fort Augustus. Picture: FLS
Wind blow at Fort Augustus. Picture: FLS

“Our teams have been clearing access along the Great Glen Way and at Uath Lochans along with hung up trees – those that have been blown over but have been caught on standing trees – near to private property and public roads.

“Further work is planned using harvesting machines where possible, and we are working with local timber merchants and sawmills to clear the fallen timber.

“We are still asking people to avoid risking their personal safety – or potentially their life – and not go into these forests until such time as we can declare them safe.”

FLS is asking visitors to always obey signage, stay well away from work areas, to turn back if a path or trail is blocked, and not to walk around, climb over or duck under fallen trees.

For public safety, car parks and trails at several destinations have been closed, including those at Feshiebridge, Uath Lochans, River Oich and Torr Dhuin at Fort Augustus.

People are advised to check the FLS website for up-to-date information on forests, but most of the organisations visitor facilities do remain open.

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