Work ongoing to open up Bennachie Visitor Centre carpark
Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) team in Aberdeenshire aims to re-open the visitor carpark at the Bennachie Visitor Centre later this month – on a temporary basis.
Clearing the extensive Storm Arwen damage at the Centre is going to take some time but FLS is aiming to provide temporary access to the trails and hill by Friday 21 January.
Conservation charity the Bailies of Bennachie issued a warning to the public that there is no access to the paths on the popular North East landmark Bennachie over the festive break.
A recent survey by the Bailies found many partially fallen trees which could be dangerous to people on the hill.
Justin Livesey, FLS’ Regional Visitor Services manager, said: “We know how popular Bennachie is with visitors and local residents and understand that the lack of access must be frustrating.
“However, the job of clearing up the damage is not a simple one and needs to be handled with care.
"Windblown trees can twist, roll, pivot and fall at the least disturbance, which presents obvious challenges when we are trying to cut away and remove the downed trees.
“We are tackling the job in such a way as to first of all restore access for visitors but there will still be a number of unsafe trees around the carpark and by the trails that will need to be cleared at a later date.
“Anyone visiting the Centre once the carpark is re-opened must avoid the windblown trees and obey all safety signage.”
The condition of some of the remaining trees around the Centre and the trails might also require that FLS close the carpark at short notice in the event of further strong winds from the North.
Jackie Cumberbirch, Chair of Bailies of Bennachie, said: “The Bailies of Bennachie, and many visitors to the hill, are very glad and grateful to see that FLS is now starting to clear some of the trails and some of the car parks on Bennachie after a six week wait.
“We appreciate the patience of many member and non-members during these exceptional times!”
Visitors should check forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/bennachie-visitor-centre for the latest up-to-date information.