The MacEachen Trail


The MacEachen Trail is part of the Cape Mabou Trail Club (CMTC) trail system. Most of the trail follows an old cart track which is shown in Google Maps, but not named. Google Maps shows the old cart track as starting at 46°09.303′N 61°22.966′W in the Community Pastures in South Cape Highlands and heading just a hair north of due west in a straight line for 345 m (⅕ mi) before turning southwest and crossing into the woods. The CMTC trail begins at the Cape Mabou Trail Head at 46°09.011'N 61°22.960'W, descends to the bog, crosses a footbridge, enters the woods, and continues for about 785 m (½ mi) where it joins the old cart track within view of the fence separating the woods from the Community Pastures. Thereafter, it follows the cart track to the Sight Point Trail Head.
Google Maps Name
Not Given
Local Usage
MacEachen Trail
Southeast to Northwest
Start Point
46°09.011'N 61°22.960'W, in South Cape Highlands at the Cape Mabou Trail Head
End Point
46°11.120'N 61°25.260'W, in Sight Point at the Sight Point Trail Head
About 6.4 km (4 mi)
Hiking Trail
Varies from footpath to cart track to fern-covered wide path to rocky path
Generally very good to excellent; however, the portion north of the Highland Link Trail is not yet officially reöpened and I have not hiked that portion in more than six years (the description of that portion below is taken from my trail notes of a hike in 2008); I did hike from the Sight Point Trail Head to the Poet’s Ridge Trail junction a couple of years ago and it was then in poor to fair shape, having at that time already been closed for three years; I heard a report this past year that a section north of the Highland Forest Trail had been damaged by cattle on the loose, but cannot confirm that.
Route Description
From the parking lot at the Cape Mabou trail head, a footpath descends to the bog, crosses a footbridge, and enters the forest, where it remains for the rest of the trail. About 785 m (½ mi) north of the trail head, across gently undulating terrain, it joins the old cart track within view of the fence separating the woods from the Community Pastures and then turns to the northwest. The footpath changes into a much wider track with needle-covered tread, punctuated by three newly-cut fire breaks. As the trail approaches the junction with the Bear Trap Trail at the 2.4 km (1½ mi) mark, the cart track changes more to a grassy tread lined with ferns, both of which grow fast in spring and early summer; round, orange trail markers clearly identify the route, but the trees on either side of the trail really leave no doubt where the trail is. After a gentle uphill climb, the junction with the Highland Link Trail is reached at the 2.8 km (1¾ mi) mark. Now turning towards the north, a bit of gentle downhill leads to the junction with the Coill à Braighe (Highland Forest) Trail at the 3.3 km (2.1 mi) mark. About ten minutes further down the trail, the tread becomes rocky for a short distance and then reverts to forest tread, just after which one reaches a tree-shrouded view of the coastal area. From that point, the trail widens and descends first moderately and then sharply on a wide curving arc, crossing a brook, and arriving shortly thereafter at the junction with the Braighe à Bhaird (Poet’s Ridge) Trail at the 5.2 km (3¼ mi) mark. From there to the Sight Point Trail Head, the track is steadily downwards alongside a brook until it reaches a driveable private lane, which it follows for a short distance before arriving at the trail head.
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.
This trail does not offer much in the way of open vistas that many of the other trails in the CMTC system provide, but it is nevertheless a very pretty trail through the forest that provides a good idea of the terrain at the top of the Cape Mabou Plateau. Together with the Highland Link, MacArthur, and Highland Forest trails, it provides a relatively level route to the summit of Beinn Bhiorach at the centre of the CMTC system, a very welcome alternative for those like myself who are no longer up to stiff climbs.

From Sight Point, the MacEachen Trail is a much more challenging hike than it is from Cape Mabou.

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/p6210869.jpg 2005
along the old cart track in the easternmost eighth of the trail MacEachen Trail View