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With the reopening of forestry car parks and mountain bike trails the great outdoors of Arran is ready to welcome people back to the hills.
Forestry and Land Scotland has pulled out all the stops to support the recovery of tourism and opened its visitor facilities across the country.
After a Herculean effort to carry out all of the necessary health and safety checks, 95 per cent of car parks, almost all visitor centres and almost all mountain bike trails are now open, with a phased re-opening of toilet facilities from Monday July 20.
The FLS website front page carries a live list of the most up-to-date information for all FLS facilities and members of the public are advised to check this before they leave home.
FLS chief Executive Simon Hodgson, said: ‘After four months of restrictions I am sure that many people are looking forward to visiting one of our forests to help in their own mental, physical and spiritual recovery.
‘Our staff have done an amazing job in getting us to the point where we are ready to welcome visitors back and I am delighted to say that now – in the new normal – we are open for business.
‘However, this is a critical juncture in Scotland’s recovery. Progress to date could easily be reversed so it is vital that everyone plans ahead, has alternative options ready in case they arrive at a site that is already too busy and that they follow the latest Scottish government guidance.
‘In supporting this approach we will be implementing physical distancing in our visitor centres and will also require that anyone entering wears a face mask.
‘We look forward to welcoming people back to our forests, our mountain bike trails and our visitor centres. Please remember to be considerate of each other and of our staff so that everyone can continue to stay safe and enjoy great days out.’
The majority of FLS car parks are now open, as are the majority of mountain bike trails. Checking the FLS website for the latest news, and using the ‘Our Forest’ search facility, will help to ensure that a planned day out becomes a great day out.
However, they have also issued a warning to visitors to show responsible behaviour take their litter home. They have urged members of the public to remember that while many car parks and beauty spots are now open, waste collection services may not yet be operational.
It is hoped that this early appeal will encourage people to think carefully about when and where they want to travel to and that they will be considerate of local communities, other visitors and land management staff and take their litter home.
A spectacular view of Lamlash from the path to Loch Urie which can be reached from the Dyemill forestry car park. Photo by Hugh Boag 01_B29outdoors01