George Allan

Earlier in the year, an NEMT member saw groups of trial motorcyclists in two locations in the Central Highlands (almost certainly the same group). The first sighting was on the path from the Blackwater Reservoir to Loch Treig and the second was at Meanach Bothy, where a group of around fifteen had congregated. Wheel tracks suggested that they had travelled as far as the Steall Flats above Polldubh. The bikes were driven on both the path and on open ground. The Steall Flats are owned by the John Muir Trust whose staff confirmed that they had not given permission for riders to be there. NEMT contacted the Police who gave the advice outlined below to anyone witnessing unauthorised vehicles being used off road. NEMT also spoke to the organisers of the Scottish Six Day Trial. This long established motorcycle event uses this area for its annual motorcycle competition. They work with estates and the environmental authorities to ensure that the routes taken cause the least problems and any damage done is made good. They also said that when they are scoping routes their bikes are always numbered and their members wear fluorescent clothing. They were extremely angry regarding what NEMT reported because illegal off road driving threatens the continuation of their event.

© Don Willians

On a later date, the same NEMT member saw trial bike tracks along the very top of a Corbett in the Glen Carron area and on the path accessing the hill.

NEMT again acted, contacting the Forestry Commission which owns part of the land involved. The Commission responded by saying that it would advise the Achnashellach Estate, on whose land the Corbett lies, and would erect signage at potential access points.

There is no doubt that riding bikes in such terrain is an exciting activity, however it is illegal under the Road Traffic Act 1988 unless the land owner has given permission. It also rapidly damages softer ground and vegetation. The Forestry Commission did stress, however, that there are a number of legitimate organised events in woodland and wild land. While hill goers might not like the noise and intrusion these can occasionally cause, motorcyclists have every right to participate. What is important is to try to prevent unauthorised motorcycling in wilder areas. If people see this occurring, they should consider taking the following action which is endorsed by Police Scotland:

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