This dramatic night-time shot of the Kintail fire was shot by property manager Willie Fraser across Loch Duich

This dramatic night-time shot of the Kintail fire was shot by property manager Willie Fraser across Loch Duich

Wildfires have continued to rage across the UK, fanned by high winds which have helped the flames spread across exceptionally dry ground.

The National Trust for Scotland’s land has been severely affected by two large fires on the Torridon estate and in Kintail and Morvich.

At several points the blazes threatened Inveralling forestry scheme and Torridon village, as well as Torridon House and nearby woodlands.

In Kintail, firefighters worked hard to protect Invershiel, but the trust said late on Sunday night the flames reached one of its forest regeneration plantations above Kintail Village and the A87.

The regeneration area was one where ancient forest remnants are being augmented by new growth. Footpaths thread through the forest, linking the Moray Firth in the east to Kintail.

The trust’s director of property and visitor services Pete Selman said: “Despite the best efforts of the crews on the ground, once the fires reached the trees, the flames leapt as high as 40 feet.

“At one point it looked as if the plantation might have been saved but the fires flared up again and, as it was getting dark, the teams had to come off the hill for their own safety.

“The loss of the mature trees is heartbreaking to all those involved in forest regeneration in the area over many years. However, the main thing is that no-one was hurt. We will look at our options once the immediate priorities are dealt with and our aim will be to begin re-establishment of the affected area of forest once again.”

Highland Fire Brigade, the Coastguard and the Trust’s own locally-based teams tackled the extensive and dangerous blazes. The fires continued through Monday, and the trust’s staff expressed their gratitude for the firefighting efforts.

Mr Spelman continued: “The first priority was to ensure the safety of all people in the area, including local residents and walkers out on the hills. Firefighters then had to battle to keep the flames away from houses and farms.

“Crews showed great courage and determination in tackling the fires, which were being stoked by a combination of very dry and warm conditions and strong winds. The scale of the fires was such that it was necessary to call out a helicopter to water bomb them and we are thankful that these efforts ensured that no-one was injured.

“The forecast is for the combination of dry, warm weather and strong winds to persist until the end of week. These events are a salutary reminder of why we ask all visitors to our countryside properties to take extra care and apply common sense and not light fires or barbecues in close proximity to dry heather, grass and scrubland.”

The 7 431ha  (18,362 acre) Kintail and Morvich estate was bought by the National Trust for Scotland in 1944 and includes the Falls of Glomach and the Five Sisters of Kintail, of which four of the peaks exceed 3000ft.

The Torridon Estate was transferred to the care of the trust for Scotland in 1967 and includes the peaks of Liathach and Beinn Alligin.

The project to regenerate the native pinewoods is one of the largest environmental enterprises in Scotland. The natural regeneration of native woodlands, which have been depleted as a result of human action and grazing by sheep and deer, is a major objective of the trust’s management at Torridon, Kintail and Glencoe.

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