THE inaugural Forestry Expo event, which took place on 22–23 August in South Lanarkshire, has been hailed as a great success. Following months of planning and speculation – mostly about the weather – Scotland’s premier harvesting trade event is in the books. The expo drew over 3,000 visitors across the two days, covering the length and breadth of the forestry industry, from the UK, Europe and beyond.

The Little Clyde site offered a packed field of trade stands, where a number of live demos took place and, from there, it was a quick shuttle bus journey to the adjacent commercial forestry site where the harvesting was carried out.

Trade stand holders reported a steady stream of visitors, with not even heavy rain on the first afternoon dampening the spirits of the exhibitors and attendees. The sun made a very welcome appearance on the Friday and the car parks were soon near capacity.

In the harvesting area an estimated £40 million worth of harvesting and forwarding equipment, from major manufacturers John Deere, Komatsu, Ponsse and Tigercat, was put through its paces, harvesting around 6,000m³ – around 250 lorryloads – over the course of the event.

Martin Dare, of event organiser Rural Projects, commented: “We are delighted with the support received for Forestry Expo. Pulling the event together was a real team effort on behalf of my Rural Projects staff, the Forestry Journal team and our sponsors and hosts.

“It was brilliant to see everything come together and I am grateful to the forestry community of Scotland and further afield, including international visitors, who turned out to support the event.”

He added: “Our aim is to grow on the success of Forestry Expo 2019 and to repeat the event in future years.”

Stef Kaiser, communications manager with forestry industry body Confor, praised the event.

“It was great for Confor to be part of Forestry Expo in Scotland,” she said.

“These are really exciting times for the industry and events like Forestry Expo are a good way to attract more people to our sector. That could be farmers looking to plant productive woodlands or young people looking for employment. Forestry Expo helps to demonstrate that modern forestry is supported by investment and underpinned by innovation.”

We asked what visitors thought of the inaugural Forestry Expo Scotland...

Henry Gunn, Even Forestry Ltd, declared: “A proper forestry show and not full of tree surgeon muppets walking around in their neon skin-tight disco trousers. Would be good to see hand cutter demos too with Husky and Stihl involved, even the tree jacks maybe. Mounding crews and planting crews showing how it’s done, those lads are as important as harvesters and forwarders.”

Nick Abbott, Glan Soden Engines, said: “Very impressive demo/working area. Would have been good to see some hand cutting, winch extraction and tractor/timber trailer action as a comparison to the big boys. Thoroughly enjoyed it, though.”

John Gornall, John Gornall Tree Felling Services, said: “Yep, excellent show. Maybe some small-scale forestry would also be of interest.”

Paul Hazel added: “Agree, small scale forestry aimed at smallholders with smaller purses.”

Neil Forsyth, David Noble Haulage, said: “Live demos were excellent. Think main field could do with being spread out as all the stands were very close to each other.”

Mark Curtis, founder of the Forest Machine Operators Blog, attended on the Friday. He said: “It was a brilliant day. I know most of the guys on the machines so it was great catching up with them. I’m sorry I didn’t go for the two days now, to be honest. It would be good to see it back. There’s definitely a market for it.