Charity launches £1.6m fundraising drive to buy mountain
Woodland Trust Scotland hopes to manage Ben Shieldaig in the Highlands.
Woodland Trust Scotland has launched a £1.6m fundraising drive to buy a mountain in the Highlands.
The conservation charity hopes to manage Ben Shieldaig, which has been put on the market by its private landowner.
The mountain covers around 4000 acres set in the dramatic Torridon landscape within the Wester Ross National Scenic Area.
From its summit at 534m, it offers spectacular views towards Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
As well as birch woodland, the mountain is also home to a significant remnant of ancient Caledonian pinewood - special not only because it has occupied this spot since just after the last ice age, but because it lies at the very limit of the Scots pine's northern European distribution.
This is one of the most westerly remnants of native pine in Europe; one of the closest to sea level; and quite possibly one which is genetically unique to the north-west of Scotland.
As well as sea eagles, golden eagles, red squirrels, pine martens and otters, the mountain is also home to the UK's smallest dragonfly, the black darter.
The Woodland Trust aims to protect and expand the unique and valuable existing native woodland at Ben Shieldaig through a combination of natural regeneration, new native planting and effective deer management.
Carol Evans, Woodland Trust Scotland director, said: "This is a rare opportunity for us to bring a whole mountain under our care.
"It already supports a magnificent area of ancient Caledonian pinewood and a temperate rainforest of native birchwood.
'This is a rare opportunity for us to bring a whole mountain under our care'Carol Evans, Woodland Trust Scotland director
"Perhaps even more exciting is the potential to manage these within a mosaic of their natural neighbours.
"Our aim is to see native woodland, montane scrub and open moorland habitats meshing naturally with each other from sea to sky.
"That would encapsulate all that a restored landscape can be, not just in Torridon but across the Highlands."