06 September 2014

Loch Tay is usually something that most of us just drive around, getting occasional glimpses of the big brooding mass of water through the trees, but very rarely is there a safe place to stop and take in the views. Over many decades, tree growth has colonised the road and loch sides and, while this is useful habitat, it stops us from seeing Loch Tay.
Loch Tay Kenmore BeachWebI have said this before, but even as a woodland advisor, it would be great if we could see some of our iconic views a bit more often.
The best views of Loch Tay tend to be from the south Loch Tay road, especially between Ardtalnaig and Ardeonaig, looking east or west. The road is still narrow there, but at least it is quiet, and if it is a nice day and you are quick, you can usually get a picture worth taking home with you before somebody comes along.
During 2014, there have been two more views open up of Loch Tay.
The first was aided by the winter storms, blowing down a number of trees along the beach front at Kenmore. The opportunity of tidying these up was taken to make a really good job of opening up the whole shore front, transforming it out of all recognition, and very much for the better. We have a great view looking up the loch now as we come in to the village from Aberfeldy and it really adds to the whole amenity and makes people want to stop to take a look.
Loch Tay Boreland Trees awayWebThe other view (middle) to be opened up is at Boreland Forest, where Forest Enterprise has clear felled a long narrow strip of mature conifers between the loch side and the road. The views opened up by this in both directions are just wonderful, showing us what we have been missing all these years. The cleared area is right at the bend in the loch, and we can really see the best that Scotland has to offer now when passing from either direction, and in all sorts of weather.
As a student, I remember stopping there to see those trees, although I can’t remember now exactly what was notable about them and why we stopped. I suppose they were well grown and worth a great deal of money and indeed, having seen them felled and stacked up, you wouldn’t get too many of them to the lorry load.
Loch Tay1WebThis does, however, emphasise that we live in a working countryside and that opportunities arise on the back of change and that we should not try to analyse change too much or try to control it unnecessarily. Cutting down these trees for many people will have made the long journey alongside Loch Tay just that little bit easier. They will grow back, of course, but we will be able to enjoy the view for a while and, in the meantime, circumstances and timber markets will undoubtedly intervene and open up other areas as well.

Victor Clements
The author works as a woodland adviser in Aberfeldy in Highland Perthshire



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