The Ben Eighe Mountain Trail
The National Nature Reserve at Ben Eighe is Britain's oldest, set up in 1951mainly to protect the ancient Caledonian pine forest but extending over 48km2 to enclose the entire bulk of Ben Eighe, a vast massif of peaks and ridges between Loch Maree and and Glen Torridon. A trail climbs the outlying summit of Meall a' Ghubhais to offer a superb prospect of the main Ben Eighe summits. It is steep and rocky, with a little basic scrambling required in places, but the path is well maintained, and any reasonably fit person with a few hours to spare should make the effort.
The lower slopes of Meall a' Ghubhais from the Caledonian pine woods on the south shore of Loch Maree
As the trail gains height above the tree line superb views of Loch Maree open up
Slioch dominates the far shore
Near the top of the waymarked route at ~1800ft the main summits of the Ben Eighe range appear over the southwest skyline
Hidden from view behind the notched peak in the centre is Ben Eighe's most famous feature, Coire Mhic Fhearchair and the spectacular Triple Buttress. But it's a long hike from here. The trail spurns the challenge and meanders northwest along the plateau.
The ice-scoured quartziite plateau is punctuated by a chain of small lochans that mirror the views along the trail
The bulk of Slioch hides a wilderness of peaks to the north that is the Fisherfield Forest
Passing an intriguing (Chinese?) cairn . . .
. . . and what looks like a carved owl atop a dead tree (a totem pole?) . . .
. . . the trail descends again towards the Caledonian pinewoods of Loch Maree.