Visit Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve - leaflet

Visit Beinn Eighe NNR - Tadhail Beinn Eighe Tèarmann Nàdair Nàiseanta front cover

Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest National Nature Reserve. It was set up in 1951 and embraces a vast area of 48 square kilometres stretching from loch-side to mountain top. A huge cluster of rugged peaks, ridges and scree-covered slopes between Loch Maree and Glen Torridon forms part of this national jewel, most of which is owned by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Grannies of the grey slope

One of the most westerly fragments of ancient Scots pinewood survives at Beinn Eighe on the Glas Leitir (grey slope). Some of its seed trees, or ‘granny’ pines, are more than 350 years old. But their ancestral roots go much deeper. Scots pines arrived here around 8200 years ago. This was long after the last Ice Age glaciers – which scooped out the hill corries and the trough now filled by Loch Maree – had melted.

Sands of time

Some 800 million years ago, massive rivers began to dump sand and gravel over the ancient bedrock. Piling up to six kilometres thick, these sediments became the Torridonian sandstone that forms the bulk of Beinn Eighe and neighbouring mountains. Around 400 million years ago, major movements of the Earth’s crust drove a large slice of Torridonian sandstone upwards to come to rest on younger quartzite rocks. This reversal of the usual sequence (where older rocks sit below more recent ones) is one of the reasons for Beinn Eighe’s great geological interest.

Insects and all

Abundant midges can mean there’s no escaping the insect life here. But meeting some of the Reserve’s hundreds of other kinds of insects – many of them rare and unusual – is much more pleasant. In summer, look out for golden-ringed dragonflies and the beautifully coloured blue aeshna. A moth flying in crazy zigzags over the heather could be a male northern eggar, trying to homein on the scent of a female. The caterpillars of this moth and some other common ones are very hairy as protection against predators. So look, but don’t touch!

A female highland darter (Sympetrum nigrescens) dragonfly, Taynish National Nature Reserve, Argyll. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

A female highland darter (Sympetrum nigrescens) dragonfly, Taynish National Nature Reserve, Argyll. ©Lorne Gill.

Small is beautiful

More than 500 metres up the mountain slopes, a dense cover of tough plants hugs patches of ground. Dwarf willow and prostrate juniper rise only a few centimetres above the surface. while fir and alpine clubmosses sprout among small sedges. This dwarf shrub heath, as botanists call it, is one of the finest of its kind in Britain. Similar to the vegetation found on the arctic tundra, its presence here shows just how severe the exposure can be way up the Beinn.

On the trail of the ancient pines

The Woodland Trail winds through the pinewood for about 1½ kms, whilst the Mountain Trail leaves the pinewood and climbs the hillside. Walking the whole 6½ kms trail takes three or four hours, and stout footwear is recommended. But a trek along even a small part of it can be fun. Buzzards, golden eagles and ravens can be spotted on the Trail and you may even be lucky enough to see pine martens and wildcats. For visitors who would like to find out more about Beinn Eighe, there’s a visitor centre open from Easter to October just outside Kinlochewe, and three allability trails that are open all year.

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve.  Slioch with pines at Bridge of Grudie, dusk. ©Niall Benvie/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve. Slioch with pines at Bridge of Grudie, dusk.

©Niall Benvie/NatureScot.

Gaelic

‘S e Beinn Eighe an Tèarmann Nàdair Nàiseanta as sine ann am Breatainn. Chaidh a stèidheachadh ann an 1951 gus dìon a chur air a’ choille ghiuthais aosta an iar air Ceann Loch Iù, ach gabhaidh e a-steach talamh farsaing de 48 cilemeatair ceàrnagach bho thaobh loch gu mullach bheann. Tha stùcan corrach, dromannan agus sliosan sgàrdain eadar Loch Ma-Ruibhe agus Gleann Thoirbheartain san àite phrìseil seo, a’ chuid mhòr dheth fo sheilbh Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba.

Craobhan aosta na Glas Leitir

Aig Beinn Eighe air a’ Ghlas Leitir tha tè de na seann choilltean giuthais Albannach as fhaide an iar. Tha cuid de a craobhan sìl còrr is 350 bliadhna a dh’aois, ach tha freumhan an eachdraidh a’ dol mòran nas doimhne. Ràinig an giuthas Albannach seo mu 8200 bliadhna air ais. Bha sin fada an dèidh do na h-eigh-shruthan bho Linn na Deighe – a chladhaich na coireachan agus an slochd sa bheil Loch MaRuibhe – leaghadh.

Siubhal tìm

O chionn 800 millean bliadhna thòisich aibhnichean mòra, à beanntan far a bheil a’ Ghraonlainn an-diugh, air fàgail gainmhich agus morghain air an fho-chreig àrsaidh às an tàinig tro thìm iar-thuath Alba. Bho na grùidean sin, suas ri sia cilemeatair a dhoimhne, thàinig a’ chlach-ghainmhich Thoirbheartanach a tha a’ dèanamh suas a’ chuid mhòr de Bheinn Eighe agus na beanntan mun cuairt. O chionn 400 millean bliadhna thug gluasadan mòra am rùsg na Talmhainn criothnachadh air an àite. Eadar roiligeadh is pronnadh, tro chumhachd mhòrroinnean an t-saoghail, chaidh sgealb mhòr den chloichghainmhich Thoirbheartanaich a sparradh an àirde gus an do laigh i air uachdar chreaganèiteig na b’ òige. Dh’ fhàg seo gu bheil suidheachadh nan creag a-nis bun os cionn, fear de na h-adhbharan gu bheil ùidh cho mòr ga sealltainn ann an geòlas Beinn Eighe.

Biastagan

Tha frìdean do-sheachanta an seo le na sgaothan de mheanbh-chuileagan mun cuairt. Ach tha e gu math nas tlachdmhoire coinneachadh ri cuid de na ceudan sheòrsachan eile de fhrìdean san tèarmann – feadhainn aca tearc agus annasach. As t-samhradh, coimhead a-mach airson an tarbhnathrach cearcaill-òir agus an t-aeshna gorm le dhathan àlainn. Ma chì thu leòmann a’ falbh bho thaobh gu taobh os cionn an fhraoich is dòcha gur e ughach tuathach fireann a bhios ann, a’ lorg tè bhoireann air a fàileadh. Tha na burrais aig an leòmann seo agus aig cuid den fheadhainn chumanta eile glè mholach, gus an dìon bho shealgairean. Thoir sùil orra, ach na bean riutha!

Beag ach bòidheach

Còrr is 500 meatair suas sliosan na beinne, tha còmhdach dlùth de lusan righinn a’ greimeachadh ri caoban talmhainn. Tha àiteachan an seo coltach ri mion-choille, le seileach Ailpeach agus aiteann sìnteach nach eil ach beagan cheudameatair os cionn na talmhainn, agus na lurgnan aig garbhag an t-slèibhe a’ fàs am measg lusan beaga seisg. Tha an ‘talamh-fraoich meanbh-phrìs’ seo, mar a their luibh-eòlaichean ris, cho math ri gin de sheòrsa am Breatainn. Tha a choltas ris an lusrach air tundra na h- Artaig a’ sealltainn cho coitcheanta ris an fhuachd ’s a tha e gu h-àrd air a’ bheinn.

Air lorg nan seann chraobh giuthais

Tha Slighe na Coille a’ lùbadh an àirde agus air ais mu 1½ chilemeatair tron choille ghiuthais, agus tha Slighe a’ Mhonaidh a’ fàgail na coille agus a’ dìreadh na beinne. Bheir neach trì no ceithir a dh’uairean a thìde a’ coiseachd nan 6½ cilemeatair air fad, agus feumar caisbheart làidir is àiteachan cas innte. Ach tha pailteas spòrs an lùib fiù ’s earrann bheag dhith a choiseachd. ‘S dòcha gum faic sibh, clamhan, iolaire bhuidhe no fitheach air an t-slighe agus mu tha sibh uabhasach fortanach ‘s docha gum faic sibh taghain no cait fhiadhaich. Mu tha sibh ag iarraidh barrachd fhaighinn a-mach mu Bheinn Eighe tha ionad

 


Published: 2010

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