DRONES could be used to plant tree seeds on the hillside above Scotland's 'most infamous road' - if a recent trial takes off. 

Seeds were recently scattered across six hectares of Glen Coe as part of an ongoing project to reduce the number of serious landslips at the Rest and Be Thankful, which is frequently closed. 

The trial - believed to be a first in the UK - saw 20kg of native tree seeds dispersed at the A83 over a two-day period. They will now be monitored until next spring. 

READ MORE: Rest and be Thankful: Scotland's most infamous road to shut again after Storm Franklin passes

If successful, drones will be then used again with a gravity fed system to drop pellets of seeds, containing a nutrient gel, into the soil and exposed mineral slopes. The test was carried out in March as part of Forestry and Land Scotland's (FLS) contribution the improvement scheme, which is being run in partnership with Transport Scotland

James Hand, FLS’ operations forester who is overseeing the planting, said: “Using drones to plant trees is quite common in north America and parts of Europe but as far as we are aware it’s new to the UK.

“The benefits of using a drone are that it is quicker and more able to scatter seeds on sites that people would find it hard – or even dangerous - to work on.

“This first trial was about scattering seeds and determining how fast and high to fly and still achieve the dispersal that we want. It went very well and it’s now a matter of waiting to see how many seedlings emerge." 

Frequently closed due to landslips and with millions of pounds having already been ploughed into measures to protect the road, it's hoped the move will be a "win-win solution", improving the thoroughfare's resilience and its landscape. 

HeraldScotland: Rest and Be Thankful is frequently closed due to landslips Rest and Be Thankful is frequently closed due to landslips

James added: “Next year we plan to step up the trial and use a drone with a gravity fed system to drop  pellets of seed, containing a nutrient gel, into the soil and exposed mineral slopes. The gel packets should increase the likelihood of the seeds germinating and growing.

“If the technology and the technique both work, this could be of significant benefit when we look at increasing the resilience of other sites that are at risk from the changing climate.”