Kinbrace Open Day
A personal view of the timber operations
As members of the Friends of the Far North Line we attended a very successful open day held by Forest Enterprise at Kinbrace on Saturday 24 August 2002 giving members of the local community and other interested parties an opportunity to visit Rosal forest to see the harvesting operations, find out about the work that has been carried out on the B871 Syre road and to inspect the newly constructed line-side loading bank at Kinbrace.
Approximately 50 people attended. An excellent static display was set up in the local church giving an outline of the problems faced in transporting what is almost landlocked timber from the forest to the railhead at Kinbrace. After an introductory talk from a representative of Forest Enterprise those attending were transported by bus 12-15 miles along the B871 to where timber operations are being carried out at present.
This was a most impressive operation with state of the art machines working 24 hours a day in order to maximise the limited window in which these operations can be carried out i.e. around 20 weeks in the summer. Each machine, costing £250,000, is able to cut, strip and cut to length each tree with its computer controlled head which alone costs £65,000.
The Highland Council representative gave a explanation on the improvements made to the B871 to sustain the lorry movements from the harvesting sites to Kinbrace. These included a new bridge at Harvieston and the ongoing work and research under the European Roadex Programme.
On return to Kinbrace the 250 metre long loading bank, with the capacity to load 21 railway timber wagons, was inspected. Operations were explained by Frank Roach, Rail Development Manager, Highland Rail Partnership, i.e. wagons are loaded at night and transported to Inverness before the first passenger train leaves Inverness in the morning.