Saturday, 27 September 2014

Highland Titles Scottish Woodland Alliance Cycle Track Farce

It is interesting that currently Sustrans are apparently in discussion with Highland Titles about routing a cycle track over their land at Keil Hill ..... hold on, that's a bit strange, there would seem to be little point as it seems a cycle track has already been built at the expense of Highland Titles.

Let us have a look at what seems to be the only piece of work that the Scottish Woodland Alliance actually claim to have done on Keil Hill.  The construction of a cycle track over Keil Hill

This is the claim from their website at
It seems that this post has prompted the removal of the entire website, not to worry there is an independently captured screenshot of the front page here 
"In 2007, we agreed with Sustrans that they could route the Oban to Fort William Cycleway over Keil Hill.  By 2008 we learned that Sustrans had decided to leave cyclists on the road for this dangerous part of the route. Thus in August 2009 SWA built a cycle track at our own expense that crosses Keil Hill from the Salachan Burn to Duror Cemetary. This will prove to be of value both to the people of this small community and to walkers, cyclists and equestrians."
So, over 5 years into the cycle track's existence, let us take a quick photo tour that illustrates the gulf between the marketing hype, and the woeful reality.

First cyclists have to find the track. It doesn't appear as a cycle route on any maps that I can find. This is the view as you travel South on the A828 (no, it's not the tarmac strip on the right; it's behind the farm gate on the left)

A close up view of the entrance and signage, not exactly inviting. You'd think they didn't want anyone to use it?

 This section of the access is overgrown  with dense grass. Cycles have to come through this section, so exactly how much cycle or any other traffic can there have been?

These stepping stones are also part of the route! This is going to take road bikes off the A828, remember?

At last we arrive at something which might be described as some kind of track, a section specially constructed in 2009. Rough doesn't begin to describe it. Wholly unsuitable for road bikes. Suitable for logging and 4x4 access to the half-acre plots, though. Does anybody still think this was constructed as a cycle track for road bikes to take them off of the A828?

The thought that this was constructed as any kind of cycle track for road bikes to take cycle traffic off the main A828 road is obviously utterly farcical.

It seems to me a much more likely reason for the construction is for the extraction of the commercially planted timber when it matures. In case you were unaware, the approximately 220 acre Keil Hill estate comprises roughly half  commercial forest (leaving only 110 or so acres for the Highland Titles Nature Reserve), planted with government grants.

1 comment:

  1. It seems you've prompted them to take their silly website down!, though, has 4 captures dating back to 2007.

    Interesting to see Lairds Wood relocate to Keil Hill between the 2007 and 2008 captures. That must have been a logistical nightmare.

    Also can't help noticing that the Lochaber Highland Estates/Highland Titles funding pledge enabling "up to 1,000 hectares [2,471 acres] of new woodland to be created in Scotland over the next ten years" was made in 2007.

    So that's by 2017.

    Have they even finished planting the 60 acre Diamond Jubilee Wood yet?