Well, its been an interesting twenty-four hours here in Perthshire, but we have survived. I for one have never seen gale force winds lift sheets of water off a loch like vertically ascending rain before!
The Loch of the Lowes Visitor centre will be open from tomorrow, Saturday the 10th, as normal.
First the good news: The visitor centre, hides, and staff bothy have all survived the storm damage, though your Ranger and the SWT car had a very close escape with a falling tree yesterday! The osprey tree and the nest have also survived– though it looked at times during the gales like it must break it was swaying so violently. We will of course be double checking the nest platform in Feburary before the birds arrive to make doubly sure it hasn’t become loose etc.
The bad news is that many trees around the reserve were not so lucky- more than 30 have been blown down or severely damaged. The visitors centre had to close today whilst the ranger and conservation team leader Duncan Budge (thanks mate!) cleared a massive Bird Cherry which had fallen across our main access, taking two other trees with it. Other trees have fallen or broken around the bird feeding station and the hides, but these have all now been made safe.
Unfortunately the hardest hit area is our woodland path along the loch, which has more than 15 trees down along it, which will unfortunately have to remain closed until next week when we can get our Conservation team in to help clear it- a huge job. If you would like to reach the Dunkeld path network from the reserve, we advise carefully using the road until the path can reopen. The walking path is DANGEROUS and must remain closed until futher notice.
Amazingly the widllfie around the loch seems remarkably unaffected, with all the usual wildfowl back on the eerily calm loch this morning and a packed bird feeding station. One rain of sunshine in all the destruction: I saw a red squirrel this morning along the loch shore, with an almost black pelt – not unheard of in the Highlands but a lovely sight.