It is a traditional part of summer for many and guarantees a good day of enjoyment for all concerned.

The unmistakable sound of a generator being fired up heralding the inflation of a large bouncy castle sees people flock to the site for a decent bounce.

Shrieks of laughter, big red faces and an assortment of cuts and bruises are always the order of the day as mayhem ensues in the dark recesses of the castle.

Children seem to quite like them too.

But there is one thing about bouncy castles that cannot be denied and that is they are inherently dangerous.

Does anyone care before they dive in? Absolutely not – every parent knows the potential risks and is happy to let their kids enjoy them.

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However, Highland Council appeared to have lost its sense of humour this week when it announced a ban on the hiring of bouncy castles at its premises for health and safety reasons.

In perhaps the most po-faced statement ever issued by a public body – and the bar for that is extremely high – the authority said the huge size of its region made it difficult for its staff to get to venues to carry out thorough risk assessments.

Highland Council represents one third of the total land in Scotland and is probably the largest area in Europe that is bouncy castle-free.

They could even put it up on signs as you enter the area: “Highland Council welcomes careful drivers but is an inflatable fun free zone.”

Try getting that into the shot when you stop at the sign on the A9 for a holiday snap.    

The council said it recognised that inflatables, such as bouncy castles and slides, were a much-loved addition to events.

But a spokesman said that because of concerns about accidents the local authority had put in place “a foreseeable pause on the hiring of inflatables”.

It said hiring inflatables required thorough risk assessments and quality checks by experienced staff.

The spokesman, presumably with a straight face while wearing a black hat that judges used to wear while sentencing people to death, said: “The reality of our wonderful and dynamic landscape is that its considerable size, access to some locations and availability of appropriate staff, creates challenges which mean that is not possible to carry out the checks needed, which occur multiple times a year across a vast estate of over 200 schools.

“Therefore, until we have the structures in place to meet these requirements, a regrettable pause will be placed on the hire of inflatables.”

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Cue utter pandemonium across the region with one company, Inverness-based inflatables business Mascot Madness Entertainment, challenging the council to explain how many accidents it had recorded in the region.

The firm’s Danielle Stewart said there was “shock and astonishment” over the ban and said it threatened the future of the businesses and denied children the chance to have some fun.

The outcry was such that the council reversed the decision within 24 hours, so fair play to them.

It now says a new set of conditions had been produced for the safe use of inflatable devices on council spaces and High Life Highland (HLH) leisure facilities.

Quite what they are is not clear but it’s a start at least.

A council spokesman said: “With these assurances in place the council will be able to permit appropriate contractors to fulfil these bookings on facilities owned by the council.”

Common sense prevails at last so kids all across the Highlands can now  batter the living daylights out of each other in darkness again without fear of getting banned. In this risk-averse society that we live in, being a bit more careful with safety is not a bad thing but there are limits.

Quite why the council thinks that a thorough risk-assessment is needed for a bouncy castle at a school fete is anyone’s guess. Most inflatables, be it a chute or castle, are pretty much the same and should be as safe to use in Gairloch, Ullapool or Inverness as they are anywhere else.

Parents who complain about how dangerous they are should not let their kids on them, while those that are happy to do so should be free to do the same.

Unfortunately, we are increasingly living in a society that is governed by a vocal minority which is pandered to at every turn. This goes right across society, but public bodies seem particularly susceptible to caving into the whims of a few at the expense of the many.

Nobody is saying that recklessness should be acceptable but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of harmless fun. To suggest anything else is just hot air.