Creag Meagaidh NNR - visiting the reserve leaflet
Welcome to Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve, managed by NatureScot
Glaciers scooped out the great bowl of Coire Ardair, leaving a bare rocky landscape that was gradually covered by a mixture of woodland and heath. But from the 1700s, heavy grazing by sheep and deer meant few trees could survive, and much of the wildlife that depends on them was lost.
Now the National Nature Reserve is managed to repair that damage. Creag Meagaidh has some of the most varied habitats in the Highlands, from an Arctic mountain plateau to rare alder woodland.
Managing the deer is the key. The Reserve was the centre of a bold experiment to keep the number of deer in balance with the trees so both could thrive. High on the mountain tops, conditions haven’t changed too much since the time of the glaciers. Just as in other parts of the Cairngorms, these cold windy places are vital for Arctic species like snow bunting, dotterel and mountain hare.
Need to know
Dogs can disturb wildlife. Please keep dogs on a short lead or under close control at sensitive and respect any notices you see.
Going to Coire Ardair or further into the mountains? The weather can change quickly and it’ll be colder and windier than at lower levels, with no shelter. You’ll need good footwear, warm and waterproof clothes, food, water, a map and compass, and experience of mountain walking. Avalanches also happen here in winter, so please check the reports at www.sais.gov.uk before you go.
To get a real sense of what makes Creag Meagaidh special, keep walking up the glen from the highpoint of the Allt Dubh Trail and you’ll reach Coire Ardair (pronounced ‘corry ardour’), a wild but peaceful place with a loch beneath dramatic cliffs (10.4km / 6.5 miles round trip). The path is easy to follow, with no steep climbs, but you should allow four hours to get there and back.
Find out more
- Tel 0131 314 4174 or email [email protected]
- Follow @creagmeagaidhNNR.
- Support this NNR at nature.scot/donate-nnr.
An Sìdhean Trail
An Sìdhean (pronounced ‘ann SHEE-ann’) is Gaelic for ‘fairy knoll’. A circular route with good views of the hills and loch. Look out for a glimpse of black grouse, woodcock, woodland birds and fairies if you’re lucky!
A lovely meander through alder wood at the foot of Creag Meagaidh. Plenty of seats and tables to picnic or to sit and look out for siskins and redpolls.
Allt Dubh Trail
Pronounced ‘alt doo’ meaning ‘black burn’ in Gaelic. A path that takes you into the heart of the reserve with great views of the hills, woodland and the loch below. Couple of seats to stop and admire the views.