Bennachie a no go area over the Christmas break

The conservation charity the Bailies of Bennachie is warning the public that there is no access to the paths on the popular North East landmark Bennachie over the Christmas holidays.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:00 am
Nearly all the paths on the hill range are blocked by fallen trees. (Pic: Garry Nicol)
Nearly all the paths on the hill range are blocked by fallen trees. (Pic: Garry Nicol)

Bailies chair, Jackie Cumberbirch, explained: “Following storm Arwen nearly all the paths on the hill range are blocked by fallen trees.

"A recent survey by the Bailies found many partially fallen trees which could be dangerous to people on the hill. It will be very difficult for any rescuers to access walkers in the event of an accident.”

“For these reasons we are urging the public to stay away from Bennachie.

"A walk up to the peaks is a traditional favourite holiday activity for many, but one that cannot happen this year.”

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), which owns much of the hill said the Bennachie Centre car park and the Back of Bennachie car park are both closed.

Justin Livesey, FLS’ Regional Visitor Services manager, said: “We have carried out a survey of all the trails and assessed the amount of damage – and there are a lot of blown trees at varying points.

“We are looking at how best we can efficiently and safely complete the clear up at the start of the New Year but it is clearly going to be a big job.”

The Rowantree car park and the popular maiden causeway trail is on land owned by Pittodrie House Hotel.

The hotel manager, Andrew Tighe said: “The situation is truly devastating.

"A monumental number of trees are down.

"We have had to close the trails for public safety because of the number of unsafe and leaning trees.

"Please do not park at Rowantree or the hotel to walk.

"I can assure everyone we will get the area clear as quickly as possible.”

Jackie added: “The Bailies know how important Bennachie is for people especially at this special time of the year.

"It is heartbreaking that people cannot access the hill and gain all the benefits being there brings.

"We are working with the landowners to try and resolve this as quicky as possible but sadly it will not be able to visit until into the new year.”

For more information contact [email protected] or visit www.bailiesofbennachie.co.uk