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The first National Nature Reserve to be established in Britain and now a Biosphere Reserve, the designation of Beinn Eighe was an effort to protect an area of Scots Pine woodland on the shore of Loch Maree in the west Highlands.
It is a large reserve, covering nearly 5000ha with two hiking trails through lakeside pinewoods with holly, rowan and birch, and upland grassland and moorland bog. At the highest elevations there are scree slopes and Arctic-Alpine heaths.
Greenshank and Dunlin occur in the wetter valley bottoms and Red-throated Diver and Black-throated Diver breed on the lochs along with Common Sandpiper, Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser. Grey Wagtail and Dipper can be seen along the streams.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Red Grouse, Rock Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Eurasian or European Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Woodcock, Common Snipe, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Common Gull, Common Wood Pigeon, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Common Wren, White-throated Dipper, Bohemian Waxwing, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Eurasian Treecreeper, Eurasian Siskin, Hooded Crow, Northern Raven, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill, Eurasian Bullfinch, Snow Bunting
Mammals are well-represented with Red Deer Cervus elaphus, Sika Cervus nippon and Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus, Mountain Hare Lepus timidus and Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, and rarities such as Pine Marten Martes martes, Otter Lutra lutra and Wildcat Felis silvestris.
Dragonflies include the rare and local White-faced Darter and Azure Hawker.
There is much of interest for the botanist with orchids including Creeping Ladies' Tresses and Lesser Twayblade in the woodlands and Purple Saxifrage and Roseroot on the moorlands. At the highest levels there are Dwarf Willow, Mossy Saxifrage and Moss Campion.
Access to the reserve is restricted during September-November when the Red Deer are culled.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Two miles north-west of Kinlochewe off the A832 road.
The best time to visit this reserve is May-July and there is a visitor centre at Aultroy, near Kinlochewe, open May-September. Visitors to the highest areas should be aware that the weather can change very suddenly and be very severe at times. A pony trail provides the best route to the higher ground.
Content and images originally posted by Steve