Bridge washed away at nature reserve

The bridge at Balgavies Loch.
The bridge at Balgavies Loch.

The recent downpours may have been great weather for ducks, but not for those wanting to view them at the Balgavies Nature Reserve.

The torrential rain at the beginning of the month has caused havoc with the path network, washing away the bridge leading to the warden’s cottage and leaving him stranded ‘high and dry’ for a number of days.

Visitors to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s reserve north of the A932, four miles east of Forfar, have been unable to access all of the path network.

Signs have been erected warning them that, due to the high water level, some areas are unaccessible.

Furthermore, water rushing down from the main road and from neighbouring farmland formed rivers which eroded stretches of the pathway.

Rab Potter, reserve manager with the SWT for the north east, explained a full assessment of the damage still has to be carried out - once the water levels recede.

He said: “We were aware sections of the footpath had flooded on January 4 and we put signs up on January 5.

“On January 7 we got a phone call from Jim Hughes, the warden, to say that the bridge access to his house had washed away.

“He was stranded. We couldn’t do anything until the water level went down and we were able to retrieve the bridge and do some temporary repairs to let him get in and out.

“We kept in contact with him to make sure he was able to walk out at the road at the old station end to get supplies.

“It has never rained like this before - the level of the loch has never been like this - it is still so high we can’t assess all the damage.

“We haven’t been able to look at the footpath on the sections that are flooded - there is no point in trying.

“Once the water levels do go down I suspect there will be quite a lot of remedial work required on the footpath and on the access road.”