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Forestry and Land Scotland has reassured members of the public that the Glen Coe Lochan is refilling following a sluice gate block, last week.

Concerns were raised when visitors to the lochan were distressed to see that the water had drained away leaving a muddy hollow.

The incident occurred during a routine check of the mechanism controlling the sluice gate on the dam at the lochan. The check is required under the Reservoirs Act to ensure that in the event of extended periods of heavy rainfall, water can be released in a controlled way so as not to overtop the dam.

Considered a very low risk the check, which usually consists of opening and immediately closing the gate, ran into difficulties when a boulder jammed in the sluice gate entrance preventing it from closing.

Andy Hunt, FLS’ West Region Manger, said;

“Legislation requires that we carry out regular checks on the gate and this should have been run-of-the-mill with no overall effect on the water level.

“However, on this occasion the water flow carried some debris into the gate opening and jammed it open.

“The blockage was at the base of the gate and we were unable to reach it to remove it until the water level fell low enough. This has now been done, the gate is closed and the lochan is in the process of refilling.

“We would like to reassure everyone that we are also assessing what measures we can put in place to safely prevent or mitigate any similar incident in future and that we will do all we can to prevent this from happening again.”

Boulders washed downhill in periods of excessively heavy rainfall make their way into the lochan and can, over time, be washed towards the sluice gate.

FLS’ local team will maintain informal monitoring on the site until the water level, which is rising, is back to where it would naturally be at this time of year - and as might be expected in the current hot weather.

While the incident did look very dramatic early indications are that wildlife on the site has been able to make use of other bodies of water nearby and that there has been no long-term impact on biodiversity.

NatureScot was notified of the incident. 

Glencoe lochan is not a protected site and is not known as a location where protected species are found.

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