Fire destroys hundreds of acres of moorland

A FIERCE hill fire has destroyed hundreds of acres of moorland on the west coast of Scotland.

The blaze ripped through miles of heather and gorse on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, near the most westerly point on the UK mainland.

The blaze began on Saturday afternoon beside the Old Schoolhouse at Achosnich. Holiday residents in the schoolhouse were evacuated as firefighters tried to beat out the flames.

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Strong winds fanned the fire towards the Sonachan Hotel and over the hills to the hamlet of Achnaha, before fire crews managed to stop the flames. At the height of the blaze, the glow from the flames could be seen for miles around.

More than 50 firefighters tackling the blaze managed to prevent the flames jumping the Kilchoan to Portuairk road, which acted as a firebreak.

However, telephone lines were burnt through leaving the village of Portuairk and surrounding houses without telephone services.

Firefighters worked through the night to control the fire and the blaze was eventually extinguished on Sunday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Highlands and Island Fire Brigade said that more than three square kilometres of heather and gorse had been destroyed in the blaze.

She added: “We had to evacuate some people from properties but no-one was hurt in the fire.”