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Public warned against walking on Donmouth nature reserve amid quicksand fears

The warning sign at Deemouth. Picture by Chris Sumner
The warning sign at Deemouth. Picture by Chris Sumner

Aberdeen City Council has warned people to avoid walking on the Donmouth nature reserve after a man and his son were trapped up to their waists in quicksand.

On Monday, Bridge of Don Community Council put a post on their Facebook page containing a statement from a local resident whose family was caught up in the natural phenomenon.

While walking on the beach at Donmouth, between the bird hide and the sea, the dad and his young son became stuck up to their waists.

Thankfully, the family’s older son was able to pull them both out.

The testimony on Facebook led to a number of people commenting that they had also had experiences with quicksand in the area.

The man’s legs after he was pulled out of the quicksand. Supplied by Bridge of Don Community Council

Warning signs have now been put up on the site after a request from local councillor Ross Grant, who represents Tillydrone, Seaton and Old Aberdeen.

Donmouth Local Nature Reserve

The local nature reserve at Donmouth was established in 1992, and covers the beach site where the River Don meets the sea near Old Aberdeen.

It is a popular site for twitchers, with birds including waders, terns and skuas among those paying regular visits at various points in the year.

Lucky visitors may also manage to spot the seals that call the river estuary home.

The beach at Donmouth. Picture by Chris Sumner

There is a network of paths that run alongside the river, linking King Street to the Brig O’ Balgownie at the northern edge of Seaton Park.

Due to the presence of wildlife – and other potential dangers such as the quicksand and dune erosion – it is advised that the public stay on those paths.

‘People should not be walking there’

The rising concern over sinking sands – caused when the friction between sand particles is lost after it becomes waterlogged – has led the local authority to issue the warning.

A spokeswoman said: “Quicksand and sinking mud are natural phenomena of estuaries which can come and go with the tide and as conditions change.

“The area at Donmouth is a local nature reserve which people should not be walking on and there is already signage in the area with specific paths which people are welcome to use.

“In addition, there is signage reminding people about the potential danger of quicksand.”

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