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Forestry and land Scotland (FLS) is reminding forest visitors that the path at Conic Hill, Balmaha on the east shores of Loch Lomond, is currently of limits for public safety reasons.

The reminder comes in the wake of increasing reports of members of the public actively ignoring signage and choosing to try and walk the path that has been blocked by windblown trees.

It is anticipated that the path will be cleared and re-opened by the Easter.

Windblown sites are inherently dangerous 

Gill walker, FLS’ Area Visitor Services Manager, said;  

“We want everyone to have a great visit to the forest but more importantly we want people to stay safe. Many of the big safety risks are not obvious to visitors and safety signage is there to help protect life and limb.  

“People should stay out of windblown areas of forest because they are inherently dangerous. Trees might look as though they are stable but they can roll, slip or fall with the slightest of touches.

“Depending on how they have fallen, they can also be ‘spring-loaded’ and if that energy is released suddenly the results could be extremely serious, in not fatal. 

“Add to that the heavy machinery required to deal with the windblow and you have an increased chance of an accident. A harvester can fell and de-limb a 40ft tree in less than a minute but a tree being grappled by a machine can dislodge or knock over adjacent unstable trees. Anyone within two tree lengths of active operations could potentially be involved in a serious accident.  

“Some people ignore signage and others just don’t ‘see’ it but it’s important for their safety – and the safe and timely re-opening of the path – that they stay away for the moment and allow us to get on with the job of clearing it up.”

FLS is working with contractors to remove the windblown trees. Every incursion into the work zone means that all operations must stop until members of the public are escorted off site. This only delays the eventual re-opening of the path.

There is also an additional risk that the high-speed, heavy-duty chain drives that power the harvesting machines used to clear the felled trees can snap, sending links (“chain shot”) flying off as far as 200 metres with the force – and equivalent impact – of a bullet. 

All visitors are strongly advised to pay attention to safety signage and stick to the diversions and detour routes.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or