HIGHLAND Council’s new Mercedes-Benz Unimog is hard at work trimming roadside hedges and verges across northern Scotland, but not so long ago it was in the forefront of the battle to keep some of those roads open.

Last winter’s ‘Beast from the East’ weather system brought heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures to the region. Fitted with a snow cutter blower and a demountable gritter body, the Unimog helped clear a way through monster drifts on roads to the Cairngorm Mountain ski centre near Aviemore, allowing winter sports enthusiasts to take advantage of the prime conditions as soon as the storm abated.

The end of the ski season brought a change of roles. Equipped with a front mounted mower and ditch cutter attachment, the Unimog is now undertaking the crucial job of trimming roadside verges and overhanging branches, to maintain sightlines and improve safety for drivers.