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Creag Meagaidh NNR - Visiting the reserve

Visit Creag Meagaidh NNR for the complete mountain experience.

 

 

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Getting here

By car

Creag Meagaidh lies on the north shore of Loch Laggan, halfway along the A86 between Fort William and Newtonmore.

PH20 1BX is the nearest postcode.

Car parks

There is one car park with marked disabled bays and a coach parking area.

Map

Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve

On the A86 between Newtonmore and Spean Bridge, ten miles west of Laggan.

Nearest train stations are at Newtonmore and Tulloch.




For visitors

Visit Creag Meagaidh is a good introduction to the reserve.

Toilets

The public toilet next to Aberarder farmhouse is always open.

Picnic areas

Enjoy a picnic on the Alderwood Trail, with a carved piece of oak and a wall to provide shelter.

There are also accessible picnic benches in the car park and close to the farm buildings.

Rest areas

Take a break on one of the benches on the Alderwood Trail or the stone perches along the An Sidhean Trail. The rest areas on both trails are at about 300 metre intervals.

Trails for all

Three waymarked trails make it easy to explore the lower slopes of Creag Meagaidh:

  • Alderwood Trail
  • An Sidhean Trail
  • Allt Dubh Trail

To get a real sense of what makes Creag Meagaidh special, keep walking up the glen from the high point of the Allt Dubh Trail. This takes you to Coire Ardair – a wild but peaceful place with a lochan beneath dramatic cliffs. The path is easy to follow but allow 4 hours there and back (10.5 kilometre round trip).

Thinking of going to Coire Ardair or further into the mountains?

Remember that the weather can change quickly and it’ll be colder and windier than at lower levels, with no shelter. You’ll need walking boots, 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 avalanche reports before you go.

You can find descriptions and a map of the routes in the Visit Creag Meagaidh leaflet. 

Seasonal highlights

Visit Creag Meagaidh NNR at any time of year for wonderful scenery and wildlife.

Spring

In spring dotterel and ring ouzel come back for the summer. You’ll hear the harsh calls of black grouse lekking at the edge of the woods. Red fox, badger and pine martin are all resident throughout the varied habitat. In the woodland, spring casts a pale green cloak under the trees as they burst into leaf. You may find roe deer grazing here. Golden plover may be spotted on the summit plateau and ringed plover down by Loch Laggan.

Summer

The red deer are up on the high tops, where you’ll also find ptarmigan with their chicks. Golden eagle and peregrine falcon may be seen soaring overhead, and montane willows have their catkins on show. In late summer the moors turn a rich purple.

Autumn

It’s all change in the autumn, as the trees take on the rusts and reds of winter foliage. The roaring of red deer in rut resounds across the hillsides. Winter thrushes – the redwings and fieldfares – begin to arrive. Flocks of finches work their way across the cropped areas, feeding as they go.

Winter

Winter is a time for walking. The high summits are popular with mountaineers, who come for some of the best ice-climbing in the UK. You might spot black grouse in the birch woodland. Otter and water vole may be seen along the crystal clear burns. And golden eagles circle overhead. Red deer return to the woods and can be seen at lower levels.