Characterisation of Recent Debris Flow Activity at the Rest and Be Thankful, Scotland Open image in new window

  • Bradley SparkesEmail author
  • Stuart Dunning
  • Michael Lim
  • Mike G. Winter
Conference paper


The Rest and be Thankful (A83) in Scotland has been subject to frequent landslide activity in recent years and the trunk road has gained a reputation as one of the most active landslide sites in the UK. An average of two road closures per annum has been recorded over the last five years. This paper compares the site with other locations in Scotland that are prone to debris flows and explores a range of geomorphological factors using high resolution Terrestrial Laser Scanning data. The site is found to be relatively active, although normalization for mean annual rainfall makes activity at the site comparable to the likes of the Drumochter Pass. Macro-scale slope morphology is found to correspond strongly with the spatial distribution of recent activity. Channelisation is considered to be a significant factor in the overall debris flow hazard by confining flow and enabling entrainment. This was demonstrated during two recent events that mobilized at high elevations and entrained significant volumes of material along long runout paths.


Debris flow Geomorphology Roads Rest and be Thankful Scotland Storms 



The work described in this paper is part of a doctoral project funded by the Scottish Road Research Board (SRRB) through the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). This support is gratefully acknowledged. We are also grateful to Nick Rosser of Durham University for his assistance collecting and processing TLS field data.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradley Sparkes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stuart Dunning
    • 2
  • Michael Lim
    • 1
  • Mike G. Winter
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Northumbria UniversityNewcastleUK
  2. 2.Newcastle University, School of Geography, Politics and SociologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)EdinburghUK
  4. 4.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK

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