Popular Kinross bird hide destroyed in suspected arson attack

A ‘hugely popular’ bird hide has been destroyed in a fire that police are treating as arson.

Mill Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve after the blaze.
Mill Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve after the blaze.

The Mill Hide on the shores at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve (NNR) was gutted by the blaze on Thursday, February 18, between 7-8pm.

NatureScot, the organisation which owns the popular bird spotting retreat, said it was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the fire.

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Officers have appealed for information in connection with the blaze.

Mill Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve after the blaze.

The hide, built in 2011 on the edge of Kinross behind the Todd and Duncan factory, has won awards for its architectural design.

It was a popular place for locals and visitors to enjoy some of the best views of the loch and the large numbers of birds congregating on the water.

Neil Mitchell, NatureScot’s reserve manager, said: “When I went out to the site this morning I was shocked and saddened to see what has happened to the hide. It’s been completely destroyed and what’s worse is we believe the fire was started deliberately.

“The hide is hugely popular and over the years has brought so many people joy, allowing them to experience and connect with nature at the reserve. It was a beautiful building that has won several awards, and many visitors will have snapped views from it. Sadly we’ve now had to fence off the site for public safety.

Mill Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve after the blaze. photo, Lisa Ferguson

“While it’s gutting to see it destroyed, the response from the community and the general public has been amazing. Given this bird watching site’s popularity and fantastic loch side location, we are determined to replace the hide as soon as possible.

“We would urge anyone with information about the fire to contact Police Scotland.”

Chief Inspector Graham Binnie of Police Scotland said: "Starting fires deliberately is reckless, dangerous and risks lives. In this case, the bird hide has been completely, and unnecessarily, destroyed.

"We are investigating this as a deliberate act and would ask anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area on Thursday evening, or has information to identify those responsible, to report this to us as soon as possible. Those with information should contact Police Scotland on 101 and quote incident number 0573 of 19 February."

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