View from the MacPhee Trail Look-off

View from the MacPhee Trail Look-off
Photo 13 of 25: View from the MacPhee Trail Look-off
Taken 2007 July 3 from the MacPhee Trail at the look-off about ten minutes from its junction
with the Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail
GPS 46°09.0??'N 61°26.5??'W

About ten minutes from the junction of the MacPhee and Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trails, the MacPhee Trail, opened last year, offers this marvellous vista of Beinn Bhiorach (just right of centre) and of the coast below it. The mountain rising at the right in the middle ground is the same (unnamed) mountain seen at the left of the previous photo.

The damage to the evergreens seen in the previous photo is also visible here; indeed, signs of its ravages are ubiquitous on the Inverness coast this year.

From the Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail, the MacPhee Trail climbs briefly (and moderately) to reach this vista and then climbs a bit more to reach its junction with the Beaton Trail, following the MacPhee pioneer cart track along the mountain’s edge; beyond its junction with the Beaton Trail, it follows another cart track down the side of the mountain to reach the Cul Na Beinne (Beyond the Mountain) Trail, also known as MacKinnons Brook Lane. The day I took this photo was my second time on this route; I was reminded on the way down that coming up from MacKinnons Brook Lane would be a real work-out, as this trail goes steadily down and has many switchbacks on the lower end to counteract the steepness of the slope. It was a gorgeous walk on a tree-filtered sunny day that brought home to me the great beauty of this new trail. What a privilege it is to have access to such a marvellous and extensive trail system!

[2012] The devastation seen in this photo was only the beginning of the scourge: I was on this trail 2011 August 1 after it was reöpened and was simply aghast at the scene now from this look-off. Nearly everywhere one sees living spruce trees in the photo above has been decimated—ugly grey/brown hulks of the once beautiful evergreens, often toppled in a jumbled mass, are what the eye sees now. Some cutting has been done, primarily in the area west of the Beinn Alasdair Bhain Trail (outside the scope of this photo), which latter has had to be relocated off the MacPhee Trail to avoid the cut-over area. It is therefore a very different scene today, though admittedly a lot more open and with wider vistas than before. Sadly, the lovely Grande Allée, seen here, is now open to the sky and its wonderful scent that so delighted the senses is no more. Fortunately, the Cape Mabou Highlands are covered by a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees and the deciduous trees have been unaffected (except when damaged by fallen spruce). So there is still plenty of green forest to be seen from this look-off, but the great stands of evergreens are effectively gone and the damage is visible everywhere they once stood.