Tree-cutters from SSEN Distribution's Perth depot have been supporting a community archaeological project on the site of King's Seat, a Pictish hilltop fort near Dunkeld.

King's Seat overlooks stunning views of the River Tay, and over the past three years a partnership between Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) and Dunkeld & Birnam Historical Society has seen volunteers from the local area working alongside archaeologists to discover more about what life would have been like on the fort over 1,000years ago.

However, with the site being surrounded by dense rhododendron bushes, access for the volunteers and archaeologistswas proving increasingly difficult.

Jamie Beazley is a tree-cutter with SSEN Distribution and works in the company's Perth depot. In his spare time he's been a regular volunteer on the King's Seat project, and so wanted to put his work skills to good use and help clear away the rhododendron growth which was making the site so hard to access.

Through SSEN's "Be the Difference" scheme, which gives every member of staff a day away from the workplace to help a local good cause or charity, Jamie and four of his Perth-based colleagues,Andy Strachan, John Dodds, Frankie Henvey and Jack Kydd,went to King's Seat last month armed with all the tree-cutting gear and safety equipment required to carry out their tasks while still observing social distancing guidelines.

Jamie explained more about the day's volunteering and the help he and his colleagues were able to provide the project:

"The work we carried out included raising the crowns of trees around the perimeter of the fort to improve the views, and also with the focus on safety, we were cutting stumps to reduce trip hazards on the paths and around the fort top as well as removing a couple of the trees which were hanging very low over the footpaths.

"Working outdoors in a typical Scottish March, you can often experience a variety of weather conditions over the course of one day and true to form, the day we cleared the rhododendronsstarted off with blue skies, but then moved to hail, snow and rain!

"Be the Difference is all about helping local good causes, so it's been great we've been able to use our skills and equipment to support a project which will help us all learn more about our local history."

David Strachan from PKHT said:

"We are greatly indebted to Jamie and his team for the great work they have done - it really is icing on the cake of what has been a fantastic community project for us. It's all the more appropriate as the project began with local members of the community clearing thick rhododendron growth from the hilltop to allow access for the first time in decades.

"The "Be the Difference" work will improve enjoyment of the site for countless people in the future - affording views which make clear why the Pictish Kings chose the site as their power base."

To learn more about King's Seat please visit the PKHT website.