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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here For You

Browse the list below and contact us if you have any questions that you can't see answers to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT CAN GUEST EXPECT TO SEE AND DO ON THEIR ZIPWIRE EXPERIENCE?

We've highlighted the 3 points for the launch site where the zip wire starts then you can see broken black lines with arrow for the direction that the zip wire will take to each of the 2 landing sites, depending on which one you are on. I've highlighted landing point 1 and 2.  Map

THE GUEST JOURNEY

Upon arrival at the car park (on the site of the former smelter), shown by a dark blue star, guests will gather at the onsite welcome cabin. The welcome cabin will provide information on the village, local area, businesses and attractions plus give access to the downloadable local map.

From here guests will either board the electric land train (think airport electric bus) or walk the short distance to the Reception area shown by a red star on the map and the journey shown by dark blue dotted line.

At the reception guests will book in, receive a briefing on their adventure and be issued with their equipment.

From here they will be taken by 4x4 minibus along the scenic route up to the launch site (shown highlighted). During the journey guests will hear an informative presentation on the history of the village, the local environment and wild life and the importance of protecting it for the future. This journey is shown by a red dotted line.

From the launch site guests will ride the longer zipwire down to landing point 1 (shown with a black dotted line and arrow of direction).

From Landing point 1, guests will take the boat ride (shown with a light blue dotted line) back to the reception while enjoying more informal presentations about the area and wild life.

At the reception, guests will re-board the minibus for their 2nd journey to the launch site.

At the Launch site guests will ride the shorter wire down to Landing Point 2 (shown highlighted) which is next to the reception.

Friends and family can view their arrival from the rooftop observation platform.

Ample information will be provided in advance (via our website) so that guests can not only book their zip wire experience but also plan/book meals in local venues, overnight stays and other attractions and walks in the area.

Once finished their experiences, guests will either opt to ride the land train back to the car park or walk one of the several scenic routes back.  You can see more on this here at GUEST JOURNEY

WHY HAVEN'T YOU OR DON'T YOU HAVE A LOCAL PUBLIC MEETING TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THE ZIPWIRE PLANS AND ALLOW THEM TO ASK QUESTIONS?

 

This project was first voiced to the community in May 2018 and over the past 3 years Leven Adventure have been very responsive to questions from the community.In mid 2019 we had a meeting in the Post Office in the village where we advertised the time and date on the local notice board of the co-op and another public meeting on the 24th July 2019 (at the Leven Centre at 7pm). Both locations are central places that villages tend to visit, some daily.  We also started a FaceBook page in case some people didn't go to these places. Twenty people filled in questionnaires at the meeting but more attended, some taking the questionnaires away with them.We had complaints that people couldn't get to it (after the meeting) so we had another in the Leven Centre, posting it in several places including the local paper.  This was well attended.We also started a web site to offer information as and when it developed and invited people to ask questions. We continually encourage people to contact us if they have any questions.

 

WILL THE NOISE AFFECT WILDLIFE?

 

A lot of the wildlife have moved into the village despite there being people and noise here, even during COVID. 

See also below WILDLIFE AND TREES.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE VEHICLES?

 

We will be using modern vehicles compliant with all UK road safety laws so will generate no more noise than any other road user. Our vehicles will run on bio-diesel so again reduced impact on the environment.We will be operating in the harbour (a brown field site being utilised for an attraction) that has been there for nearly 100 years.

 

WILL THE ZIPWIRE GO OVER RESIDENTIAL AREAS?

 

The zip wire is located outside the village and does not pass over any houses or buildings. It will not restrict access along any of the paths currently used by the public in fact many of the tracks its vehicles will use are restricted access on private land.  The closest house on the eastern side of the loch is 225m from the eastern line (about 2.5 football pitches away).   At this distance the noise generated by the trolleys going down the wire will be almost if not imperceptible.  Any noise generated by riders will be no louder than the noise made by children playing in the school playground, the recreational areas, people kayaking on the river or playing on either of the pitches in the village.  The zip wire won’t stop there being a view (from some view-points you’ll see the wire but others you won’t), From a majority of village locations the wires will be back-dropped and not visible.   So they won’t stop any of the other recreational activities.

 

WILL THE ZIPWIRE STRUCTURES STAND OUT ON THE LANDSCAPE?

 

The launch and landing platforms are made as an eco structure that will have minimal impact on the landscape as it is made with natural material cladding on the outside to blend in on the hillside.  It will also have a living roof that assists with it blending in.We see the mast on the hill which can be seen from a distance quite clearly whereas our platforms are designed to be very unobtrusive in appearance and blend in.  After all, why would we want an ugly building in such a beautiful area?

WHY WERE THE MEN IN ORANGE SUITS AT THE LAUNCHING AND LANDING SITES?

 

Some of you may have seen engineers at the site of the Launch and/or Landings sites over the last couple of days.

Why were the men in the orange suits on the hillside?

 

They are conducting some tests on the strength/quality of the bed rock at each of the sites prior to the final design of the foundations for the platforms/wires.

If all goes as expected (which it is at the moment) this will allow us to use rock anchors to support the wires.

The rock anchor is a complex but efficient foundation solution. It reduces the volume of concrete and steel tonnage by using rock as the principal foundation. The rock anchor is highly cost efficient, feasible and has proven to be very reliable in many projects.

The major benefit for us though is that it reduces our environmental footprint. Less concrete = less disturbance, less concrete = less carbon footprint, less concrete = less impact on the environment.

 

WILL THE ZIPWIRES THEMSELVES BE VERY VISIBLE?

 

The wires will be visible at times and like the telegraph wires around, sometimes they will pick up a bit of light and reflection from the sun and be visible for a short time on the right day, in the right weather, at the right time, from the right position. 

 

WILL THE WIRES HAVE FLASHING LIGHTS FOR AIRCRAFT SAFETY?

 

There will be NO FLASHING LIGHTS.  There WILL be a single Infra Red light (invisible to the human eye for those who don’t know what this means). This enables aircraft to identify the location and all aircraft have access to NOTAMS which tells them where obstruction are and exact locations.  Pilots plan their flights and take this into consideration by checking NOTAMS for the flight path.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE RIDERS BEING VISIBLE?

 

We believe riders will be visible from some positions but no more than people walking in the hills or around the walks on any other activity or day when in the open or between trees. Unless you are directly underneath them or where line of site is from the ground towards the sky, riders will be hard to see with background mountains.  However, riders will be provided with camouflaged overalls making them almost invisible when viewed against the mountainside backdrop. 

 

WILL WE STILL BE ABLE TO WALK AROUND THE LOCH PATH ?

 

A frequent concern about Kinlochleven is how the pier and loch walk have been let go.  The boat-shed being one of the many items on the list. The good news is within the plans for the project is the aim to tidy up and maintain the area and provide a pleasant area to walk and visit.  This of course is beneficial to anyone visiting the area or local residents alike.  We obviously want to make it a pleasant experience for all and that in turn means other tourists will be able to appreciate it. This is an added bonus for local people walking dogs, taking in fresh air and all the other things they currently do there but with improved access. 

 

WHAT ABOUT NOISE FROM PEOPLE ON THE ZIP WIRE?

 

The lines themselves are specifically designed to be quieter than the standard zip wire you will find in most zip wire attractions or on YouTube.  The video at the top of this page illustrates (sound level) as this is the system we are using which is almost silent.  The breaking system is also seen there, a unique system that works differently to most you will find at other attractions.  Both of these systems require a larger investment and we could have done it a lot cheaper.  Why did we spend more?  Because we believe in making our village greater, not doing it harm or detracting from what beauty we feel it already has.  The zip wires being installed are some of the quietest available and noise generated by the trolleys for instance is around 45db which is quieter than a normal conversation but louder than the inside of a library.  See the attached new trolley and braking system video for the sound. What about the noise from people?Yes people do post videos of themselves screaming on YouTube.  

 

However, if you’ve ever been there you will notice that very few of the customers do actually scream and yes Kinlochleven is in a steep sided valley that is getting wider and wider as it stretches west the direction the zip wires are from the village.What about the people?  People enjoying themselves is a plus for us.  We want people to come to Kinlochleven, enjoy their time while appreciating the nature and all it has to offer.   A favourite statement of ours is “Take only pictures, leave only foot prints”.  We don’t even want them to leave much of a footprint and making them ride a zip wire helps with this.  They are also accompanied up to the launch site so we even manage and educate them on that journey with history and how to protect the land and wildlife.

 

WILL THERE BE ANY JOB VACANCIES?

 

There will be 35 full-time permanent jobs created and 15 seasonal jobs.  It's possible that people could job share if that suits them better for some of the jobs.  Why Job share?  This is to allow people to job share if preferred (I’m sure there will be people around who only want 16Hrs a week). There will also be up to 15 seasonal jobs. All jobs at the Zip Wire will be paid at or above Scottish Real Living Wage.  This is quite a bit above minimum wage.  We have also budgeted in annual bonuses so the salary could be considerably more than minimum wage.We’ve also planned in a training budget for all staff.  This means that not only is it reasonable salary (above minimum wage) but also funded training for employees.  Our aim is to support and encourage all those who are employed at the zip wire to progress and build skills to climb the ladder within the zip wire (no pun intended), but also to perhaps utilize the new skills (paid for by the zip wire) to seek other careers using the zip wire as a career springboard. 

 

And finally I’ll take this opportunity to explain a few more points about the jobs:Male and female staff will be paid the same.All staff will have the ability to be seconded to charitable projects around the village (subject to availability).  Uniform will be provided for all staff.  There will be a range of jobs available (activity based, reception, admin jobs, boat and bus drivers).  Only three of the activity-based jobs will need previous experience so a vast majority of the jobs will be open to anyone who wants to apply and training will be provided.

 

WHAT ABOUT TREES AND WILDLIFE?

 

There’s lots of historical evidence that birch has been commercially harvested in the area for several hundred years.  For examples, take a look at the “Kinlochleven Past & Present” FaceBook page and scroll down through.  You will notice that within the last 100 years (or more realistically looking at the trees around the launch site the last 20-30 years) the hillsides around the village have turned into a largely mono-culture of silver birch.We seek to help diversify the range of trees around the areas of land being used by the zip wires.  Below are a couple of quotes, which you may recognise, illustrating the historical diversity and the ongoing work aimed at diversification of the current wood stock in and around the area.  As to the classification of trees, we have used the Government standard classification system contained in BS 5837 2012 which gives the following definitions:

 

Retention Categories A Category: Trees of high quality and amenity value. Usually, mature trees with a significant life expectancy which would enhance any development.

 

Retention of these trees is strongly encouraged.B Category:  Trees of moderate quality and amenity value.  Usually these are maturing trees or younger trees with exceptional form.  Retention of these trees is desirable though the removal of occasional specimens may be acceptable.

 

C Category: Trees of low quality or small specimens with a relatively low amenity value. These trees are not considered to be a material planning constraint and their removal will generally be seen as acceptable in order to facilitate development.

 

U Category: Trees of such low quality that their removal is recommended regardless of development proposals.We employed an independent ecological consultancy to carryout the survey and it is not in their interest not to identify trees correctly according to BS 5837 as this would undermine the planning authorities confidence in their work which is obviously a risk to their business.  We do understand that it takes time for new trees to fully catch up with those they are replacing when carrying out compensatory planting however the planning authority also understand this principle and take this into account when assessing suitable compensatory planting.  We really do get that you and most people care about the environment, as do we.

 

However, even today (and after Covid even more so) businesses must be allowed to develop, provide employment and contribute to the communities they exist in.  We are planning to do this in as sensitive a way as possible and will continue to do so as we live in Kinlochleven with our family too.  Extracts from documents referencing Lochaber Native Species (not a definitive or all encompassing list)

1. Jahama, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, was honoured for its extensive tree planting and natural regeneration programme on lands surrounding the aluminium smelter and hydro power station at Kinlochleven, which involved 150,000 native trees on the Mamore Estate, including Scots Pine, Eared Willow and Common Alder.Surveys show native woodland cover has increased from 23% to 43% within the restoration area, with the judges saying:  “The planting and natural regeneration of the 228ha Kinlochleven Native Woodland Restoration project has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on the long term future of native woodland in this part of the West Coast of Scotland.”

2.Alder is common in and around Kinlochleven, which isn’t surprising given that its natural habitat is moist ground.  It is often found along rivers where its roots help to prevent soil erosion.At this time of year, it’s quite easy to identify because both the male catkins and the female cones are visible.Alder makes excellent charcoal, which was widely used in the manufacture of gunpowder. Charcoal burners worked in the area long before Kinlochleven as we know it existed.

As part of the planning process prior to construction there will have been environmental surveys looking at the trees affected and protected wildlife that could be affected.

 

One of those surveys was carried out for the initial planning process and the second will be carried out shortly before construction commences.

 

These surveys follow a statutory format and identify trees that need to be removed and any compensatory planting to mitigate the removal of these trees and Identify any protected species that are protected by law.

 

These surveys are carried out by third party specialists to ensure they are accurate and that planning law is being followed.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: It has never been, nor is it now, our intention to remove considerable number of trees.  Quite the opposite as we need the landscape to look naturally scenic and untouched to enhance the journey for our visitors and others alike.  Why would we want to destroy the very things people are coming to see?

 

WILL THIS PROJECT BE TOO BUSY FOR KINLOCHLEVEN OR TIP THE TOURISM BALANCE?

 

You might think, if you didn’t know more about the village, that Kinlochleven has only ever been a sleepy Highland village visited by the occasional walker.In fact, Kinlochleven was built to service a hydro power station and Aluminium Smelter which closed in 2000 with the eventual loss of nearly 1000 jobs.  Kinlochleven has historically been as busy as Fort William.  For example, with village clubs (Billy Connolly was booked in) had it’s own Highland Games and a wide range of shops, two garages and it’s own bus station. Before the bridge at Ballachullish was built nearly all the traffic coming up the A82 came through the village.The roads carried a lot more traffic and although thriving back then, the air quality was definitely not good.  The advantage of the Zipwire (as pointed out to us by one of the older village resident's) is that it will bring back the thriving life that was once here and perhaps encourage some of the shops to return and businesses BUT without the poor air quality and pollution. One concern was the possibility of "over tourism".  Many of people will be aware that Kinlochleven is the penultimate stop on the West Highland Way (WHW) and if you ask any hospitality provider they will inform you that the majority of guests arrive between 3 and 6pm after walking from Bridge of Orchy or Kingshouse, and depart before 9am. This leaves a big chunk of the day where hospitality establishments (and the village) are very quiet. There is also the aspect of seasonality - from October to March the village is extremely quiet - to the point where many tourist businesses close for the winter, resulting in a high number of seasonal jobs and not permanent ones. 

 

WHAT ABOUT VALUE FOR MONEY ON THE COST OF THE ZIP WIRE RIDE?

 

If you consider that the attraction encompasses rides on an electric land-train, a 4x4 bus tour, a boat trip and 2 zipwire rides the zip becomes an accessible attraction for 7 to 107 year olds that gets them out among the beautiful scenery in the valley.  Let’s not forget, we intend those journeys to be used to educate customers about the countryside and it’s delicate system as well as the history of the village. It also lets them see the four huge steel pipes coming down the mountain side that lead up to what was in its day the largest man-made reservoir in Europe.  Oh, and it doesn’t go directly over the village. In fact, the Lochaber Outdoor Capital of the UK quotes "Welcome to the Outdoor Capital of the UK.  Experience the natural, sublime and serene wonders of adventure in Lochaber.  Enjoy the Magestic Glens, breathe the fresh mountain air and marvel at the stunning landscapes".The cost -  £65 - £85 per person compares favourably with all the other zip wires in the country. 

WILL THE ZIP WIRE TAKE AWAY CUSTOM FROM OTHER BUSINESSES IN THE VILLAGE?

 

We plan to have a café and so does the ice climbing wall in the village, that doesn’t stop the other venues earning a crust but we have positioned our car park centrally (in another brown field site) to make it easier for visitors to explore the other parts of the village (and other businesses) before or after their zip ride.  In fact, we will be working with other businesses to promote their use and collaborate to enhance the village and it’s business is a wider aim.  We aim to have signposting and links on our web site to share where customers can enjoy a drink on a patio, brows the village and hope also that it will provide local existing business and new ones to develop and prosper.

Zipwire map highlights.jpg
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BROWSE THE LIST FOR ANSWERS

WHY HAVEN'T YOU OR DON'T YOU HAVE A LOCAL PUBLIC MEETING TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THE ZIPWIRE PLANS AND ALLOW THEM TO ASK QUESTIONS?

This project was first voiced to the community in May 2018 and over the past 3 years Leven Adventure have been very responsive to questions from the community.

In mid 2019 we had a meeting in the Post Office in the village where we advertised the time and date on the local notice board of the co-op and another public meeting on the 24th July 2019 (at the Leven Centre at 7pm). 

Both locations are central places that villages tend to visit, some daily.  We also started a FaceBook page in case some people didn't go to these places. 

Twenty people filled in questionnaires at the meeting but more attended, some taking the questionnaires away with them.

We had complaints that people couldn't get to it (after the meeting) so we had another in the Leven Centre, posting it in several places including the local paper.  This was well attended.

We also started a web site to offer information as and when it developed and invited people to ask questions. 

We continually encourage people to contact us if they have any questions.

WILL THE NOISE AFFECT WILDLIFE?

A lot of the wildlife have moved into the village despite there being people and noise here, even during COVID.

WHAT ABOUT THE VEHICLES?

We will be using modern vehicles compliant with all UK road safety laws so will generate no more noise than any other road user. Our vehicles will run on bio-diesel so again reduced impact on the environment.

We will be operating in the harbour (a brown field site being utilised for an attraction) that has been there for nearly 100 years.

WILL THE ZIPWIRE GO OVER RESIDENTIAL AREAS?

The zip wire is located outside the village and does not pass over any houses or buildings. It will not restrict access along any of the paths currently used by the public in fact many of the tracks its vehicles will use are restricted access on private land.

The closest house on the eastern side of the loch is 225m from the eastern line (about 2.5 football pitches away). At this distance the noise generated by the trollies going down the wire will be almost if not imperceptible.

 

Any noise generated by riders will be no louder than the noise made by children playing in the school playground, the recreational areas, people kayaking on the river or playing on either of the pitches in the village.

 

The zip wire won’t stop there being a view (from some view-points you’ll see the wire but others you won’t), From a majority of village locations the wires will be backdropped and not visible. So they won’t stop any of the other recreational activities.

Both zip wire routes also cross over the road coming into the village so residents (and visitors) will pass under them regularly.

 

Research by RoSPA indicates that over 99% of distraction accidents are caused by distractions INSIDE the car not outwith so this is viewed by Traffic Scotland, The Highland Council and us as a tiny risk. Signage will be erected so that no driver is caught unaware.  I would consider the deer in and around the village and roads to be a higher distraction if you were consider this issue.  We don’t want to remove those do we and we accept the risk.

WILL THE ZIPWIRE STRUCTURES STAND OUT ON THE LANDSCAPE?

The launch and landing platforms are made as an eco structure that will have minimal impact on the landscape as it is made with natural material cladding on the outside to blend in on the hillside. It will also have a living roof that assists with it blending in.

We see the mast on the hill which can be seen from a distance quite clearly whereas our platforms are designed to be very unobtrusive in appearance and blend in.  Afterall, why would we want an ugly building in such a beautiful area?

WILL THE ZIPWIRES THEMSELVES BE VERY VISIBLE?

The wires will be visible at times and like the telegraph wires around, sometimes they will pick up a bit of light and reflexion from the sun and be visible for a short time on the right day, in the right weather, at the right time, from the right position. 

WILL THE WIRES HAVE FLASHING LIGHTS FOR AIRCRAFT SAFETY?

There will be NO FLASHING LIGHTS.  There WILL be a single Infra Red light (invisible to the human eye for those who don’t know what this means). This enables aircraft to identify the location and all aircraft have access to NOTAMS which tells them where obstruction are and exact locations.  Pilots plan their flights and take this into consideration by checking NOTAMS for the flight path.

WHAT ABOUT THE RIDERS BEING VISIBLE?

We believe riders will be visible from some positions but no more than people walking in the hills or around the walks on any other activity or day when in the open or between trees. 

Unless you are directly underneath them or where line of site is from the ground towards the sky, riders will be hard to see with background mountains.  However, riders will be provided with camouflaged overals making them almost invisible when viewed against the mountainside backdrop. 

WILL WE STILL BE ABLE TO WALK AROUND THE LOCH PATH ?

A frequent concern about Kinlochleven is how the pier and loch walk have been let go.  The boat-shed being one of the many items on the list.

The good news is within the plans for the project is the aim to tidy up and maintain the area and provide a pleasant area to walk and visit.  This of course is beneficial to anyone visiting the area or local residents alike.  We obviously want to make it a pleasant experience for all and that in turn means other tourists will be able to appreciate it. This is an added bonus for local people walking dogs, taking in fresh air and all the other things they currently do there but with improved access. 

WHAT ABOUT NOISE FROM PEOPLE ON THE ZIP WIRE?

The lines themselves are specifically designed to be quieter than the standard zip wire you will find in most zip wire attractions or on YouTube.  The video at the top of this page illustrates (sound level) as this is the system we are using which is almost silent.  The breaking system is also seen there, a unique system that works differently to most you will find at other attractions.  Both of these systems require a larger investment and we could have done it a lot cheaper.  Why did we spend more?  Because we believe in making our village greater, not doing it harm or detracting from what beauty we feel it already has.  

The zip wires being installed are some of the quietest available and noise generated by the trollies for instance is around 45db which is quieter than a normal conversation but louder than the inside of a library. See the attached new trolley and braking system video for the sound. 

What about the noise from people?

Yes people do post videos of themselves screaming on YouTube.  However, if you’ve ever been there you will notice that very few of the customers do actually scream and yes Kinlochleven is in a steep sided valley that is getting wider and wider as it stretches west the direction the zip wires are from the village.

What about the people?  People enjoying themselves is a plus for us.  We want people to come to Kinlochleven, enjoy their time while appreciating the nature and all it has to offer.  A favourite statement of ours is “Take only pictures, leave only foot prints”.  We don’t even want them to leave much of a footprint and making them ride a zip wire helps with this.  They are also accompanied up to the launch site so we even manage and educate them on that journey with history and how to protect the land and wildlife.

WILL THERE BE ANY JOB VACANCIES?

There will be 35 full-time permanent jobs created and 15 seasonal jobs.  It's possible that people could job share if that suits them better for some of the jobs.
 

Why Job share?  This is to allow people to job share if preferred (I’m sure there will be people around who only want 16Hrs a week). There will also be up to 15 seasonal jobs. 

All jobs at the Zip Wire will be paid at or above Scottish Real Living Wage.  This is quite a bit above minimum wage.  

We have also budgeted in annual bonuses so the salary could be considerably more than minimum wage.

 

We’ve also planned in a training budget for all staff.  This means that not only is it reasonable salary (above minimum wage) but also funded training for employees. 

Our aim is to support and encourage all those who are employed at the zip wire to progress and build skills to climb the ladder within the zip wire (no pun intended), but also to perhaps utilize the new skills (paid for by the zip wire) to seek other careers using the zip wire as a career springboard. 

And finally I’ll take this opportunity to explain a few more points about the jobs:

  1. Male and female staff will be paid the same.

  2. All staff will have the ability to be seconded to charitable projects around the village (subject to availability).

  3. Uniform will be provided for all staff.

  4. There will be a range of jobs available (activity based, reception, admin jobs, boat and bus drivers).

  5. Only three of the activity-based jobs will need previous experience so a vast majority of the jobs will be open to anyone who wants to apply and training will be provided.

WHAT ABOUT TREES AND WILDLIFE?

There’s lots of historical evidence that birch has been commercially harvested in the area for several hundred years.

For examples, take a look at the “Kinlochleven Past & Present” FaceBook page and scroll down through.  You will notice that within the last 100 years (or more realistically looking at the trees around the launch site the last 20-30 years) the hillsides around the village have turned into a largely mono-culture of silver birch.

We seek to help diversify the range of trees around the areas of land being used by the zip wires. Below are a couple of quotes, which you may recognise, illustrating the historical diversity and the ongoing work aimed at diversification of the current wood stock in and around the area.

 

As to the classification of trees, we have used the Government standard classification system contained in BS 5837 2012 which gives the following definitions:

 

  1. Retention Categories

 

A Category: Trees of high quality and amenity value. Usually, mature trees with a significant life expectancy which would enhance any development. Retention of these trees is strongly encouraged.

 

B Category: Trees of moderate quality and amenity value. Usually these are maturing trees or younger trees with exceptional form. Retention of these trees is desirable though the removal of occasional specimens may be acceptable.

 

C Category: Trees of low quality or small specimens with a relatively low amenity value. These trees are not considered to be a material planning constraint and their removal will generally be seen as acceptable in order to facilitate development.

 

U Category: Trees of such low quality that their removal is recommended regardless of development proposals.

 

We employed an independent ecological consultancy to carryout the survey and it is not in their interest not to identify trees correctly according to BS 5837 as this would undermine the planning authorities confidence in their work which is obviously a risk to their business.

 

We do understand that it takes time for new trees to fully catch up with those they are replacing when carrying out compensatory planting however the planning authority also understand this principle and take this into account when assessing suitable compensatory planting.

 

We really do get that you and most people care about the environment, as do we. However, even today (and after Covid even more so) businesses must be allowed to develop, provide employment and contribute to the communities they exist in. We are planning to do this in as sensitive a way as possible and will continue to do so as we live in Kinlochleven with our family too.

 

Extracts from documents referencing Lochaber Native Species (not a definitive or all encompassing list)

 

1. Jahama, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, was honoured for its extensive tree planting and natural regeneration programme on lands surrounding the aluminium smelter and hydro power station at Kinlochleven, which involved 150,000 native trees on the Mamore Estate, including Scots Pine, Eared Willow and Common Alder.

 

Surveys show native woodland cover has increased from 23% to 43% within the restoration area, with the judges saying: “The planting and natural regeneration of the 228ha Kinlochleven Native Woodland Restoration project has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on the long term future of native woodland in this part of the West Coast of Scotland.”

 

2.Alder is common in and around Kinlochleven, which isn’t surprising given that its natural habitat is moist ground. It is often found along rivers where its roots help to prevent soil erosion.

 

At this time of year, it’s quite easy to identify because both the male catkins and the female cones are visible.

 

Alder makes excellent charcoal, which was widely used in the manufacture of gunpowder. Charcoal burners worked in the area long before Kinlochleven as we know it existed.

 

MORE IMPORTANTLY: It has never been, nor is it now, our intention to remove considerable number of trees.  Quite the opposite as we need the landscape to look naturally scenic and untouched to enhance the journey for our visitors and others alike.  Why would we want to destroy the very things people are coming to see?

WILL THIS PROJECT BE TOO BUSY FOR KINLOCHLEVEN OR TIP THE TOURISM BALANCE?

 

You might think, if you didn’t know more about the village, that Kinlochleven has only ever been a sleepy Highland village visited by the occasional walker.

 

In fact, Kinlochleven was built to service a hydro power station and Aluminium Smelter which closed in 2000 with the eventual loss of nearly 1000 jobs.

 

Kinlochleven has historically been as busy as Fort William.  For example, with village clubs (Billy Connolly was booked in) had it’s own Highland Games and a wide range of shops, two garages and it’s own bus station. Before the bridge at Ballachullish was built nearly all the traffic coming up the A82 came through the village.

The roads carried a lot more traffic and although thriving back then, the air quality was definitely not good.  The advantage of the Zipwire (as pointed out to us by one of the older village resident's) is that it will bring back the thriving life that was once here and perhaps encourage some of the shops to return and businesses BUT without the poor air quality and pollution. 

One concern was the possibility of "over tourism".  Many of people will be aware that Kinlochleven is the penultimate stop on the West Highland Way (WHW) and if you ask any hospitality provider they will inform you that the majority of guests arrive between 3 and 6pm after walking from Bridge of Orchy or Kingshouse, and depart before 9am. This leaves a big chunk of the day where hospitality establishments (and the village) are very quiet. There is also the aspect of seasonality - from October to March the village is extremely quiet - to the point where many tourist businesses close for the winter, resulting in a high number of seasonal jobs and not permanent ones. 

WHAT ABOUT VALUE FOR MONEY ON THE COST OF THE ZIP WIRE RIDE?

If you consider that the attraction encompasses rides on an electric land-train, a 4x4 bus tour, a boat trip and 2 zipwire rides the zip becomes an accessible attraction for 7 to 107 year olds that gets them out among the beautiful scenery in the valley.  Let’s not forget, we intend those journeys to be used to educate customers about the countryside and it’s delicate system as well as the history of the village. It also lets them see the four huge steel pipes coming down the mountain side that lead up to what was in its day the largest man-made reservoir in Europe.  Oh, and it doesn’t go directly over the village. 

In fact, the Lochaber Outdoor Capital of the UK quotes "Welcome to the Outdoor Capital of the UK.  Experience the natural, sublime and serene wonders of adventure in Lochaber.  Enjoy the Magestic Glens, breathe the fresh mountain air and marvel at the stunning landscapes".

The cost -  £65 - £85 per person compares favourably with all the other zip wires in the country. 

WILL THE ZIP WIRE TAKE AWAY CUSTOM FROM OTHER BUSINESSES IN THE VILLAGE?

 

We plan to have a café and so does the ice climbing wall in the village, that doesn’t stop the other venues earning a crust but we have positioned our car park centrally (in another brown field site) to make it easier for visitors to explore the other parts of the village (and other businesses) before or after their zip ride.  In fact, we will be working with other businesses to promote their use and collaborate to enhance the village and it’s business is a wider aim.  We aim to have signposting and links on our web site to share where customers can enjoy a drink on a patio, brows the village and hope also that it will provide local existing business and new ones to develop and prosper.