Temporary Closure of Great Glen Way section (22/10/08)

The Forestry Commission Scotland has been working closely with Great Glen Way, Transport Scotland, TranServ, The Highland Council, and local community groups and other stakeholders to undertake timber harvesting along the north side of Loch Ness.

Although there hasn’t been felling activity for some years, the forests along the north side of Loch Ness need to be harvested because some trees are now of a size that puts them at risk of being blown over. The larger ones weigh in at around 8 tonnes and, on the steep and difficult terrain, will pose some challenges in ensuring safe felling and removal. The first felling trial will take place between November 2008 and March 2009.

As public safety is paramount for walkers and other route users, the Great Glen Way will be closed from Alt na Criche to Rubha Ban while the felling operations are being undertaken. Signs notifying walkers and route users of the closure of this section will be erected at 5 points before the closed section as well as signs on the gates immediately prior to the harvesting area. Phone numbers for local taxis and the bus travel line number will be on all Great Glen Way signs so that route users and walkers can plan their way around the route closure.

Unfortunately there is not a possible alternative route that is suitable for walkers and route users at this time of year. The only alternative way around the closed section of the Great Glen Way is to use public transport, local taxis or buses.

This year is a trial with two further pilots scheduled for 2009 and 2010. These trials will determine how best to manage felling on such difficult sites. This will then help to plan longer term felling operations along the north side of Loch Ness. This will be done in full consultation with all stakeholders and in line with this the Great Glen Way and Forestry Commission are already working on building alternative tracks to provide for the non closure of the route for future works. Once harvested, the area will be regenerated to return the sites back to native woodland in a way that will avoid future requirements for closures.

ENDS

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