Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail


Google Maps Name
Not Shown
Local Usage
Highland Forest Trail, Coill à Bhraighe (pronounced [kul.ɑ.ˈvri.ɑ]) Trail
East to West
Start Point
46°09.98?′N 61°24.78?'W, at its junction with the MacEachen Trail
End Point
46°10.079′N 61°25.416′W, at the Beinn Bhiorach Trail Head
1.5 km (0.9 mi)
Hiking Trail
Forest footpath
Good, though there areas where the ferns can be high—follow the orange markers on the trees
Route Description
From the MacEachen Trail, the path is through the forest; in 0.3 km (⅕ mi), it reaches the eastern end of the MacArthur Trail. From that point, the forest opens up more, with heavy growths of ferns, as it follows along the top and then the side of a long ridge. Near the 1 km (⅝ mi) mark, it reaches a look-off with open views of the MacKinnons Brook area and of Beinn Bhiorach. Just past the look-off, a switchback marks the beginning of the steady descent along the edge of the mountainside down to the col; the extensive damage done by the spruce bark beetle has opened up the views along this stretch considerably in recent years. At the col, the trail reaches its junction with the Gleann Sidh (Enchanted Valley) Trail and then begins a short, but steep, uphill climb to the summit of Beinn Bhiorach, where it ends at the trail head there.
Vic’s Scenic Rating
Purchase the Cape Mabou Trail Club Map, available in most local stores and establishments in Mabou and Inverness: as well as giving you a map of the trail system, it will provide you with great information in planning your hike and will allow you to incorporate other trails into your day hiking the Cape Mabou Highlands.

Deadfalls blocked the trail in June of 2014 from the look-off down to the col and on the lower part of the short ascent from the col to the summit of Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain); thanks to an axe my friend had, we were nevertheless able to get through with some gymnastics (the edge of the mountain is right beside the trail, leaving little room for manœuvre). I am told that those deadfalls have since been cleared, but a winter as severe as that of 2014-2015 has likely brought down others. If you are hiking in early spring before the volunteers have had a chance to reclear the trails, be prepared to contend with them.
The MacEachen/Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail route and the Highland Link/MacArthur Trail route each form two sides of a rough trapezoid that reach the same point, the junction of the Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail and the MacArthur Trail. There is little to recommend one route over the other, though the Highland Link/MacArthur Trail route is marginally shorter.

Photo Catalogue

Click on any thumbnail to be taken to the photo essay page for that photo.

Thumbnail Date GPS Locality Where Caption
../essays/2/thumbnails/p8093421.jpg 2005
at the look-off with a view of Beinn Bhiorach before the switchback descending to the col View from the Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail
../essays/2/thumbnails/p6210865.jpg 2005
at its junction with the Gleann Sidh (Enchanted Valley) Trail below the Beinn Bhiorach summit The col below Beinn Bhiorach
../essays/2/thumbnails/p8093423.jpg 2005
at the Beinn Bhiorach Trail Head The Beinn Bhiorach Trail Head