This view continues the previous one, bringing the summit of Beinn Bhiorach into full view. Beinn Bhiorach is a focal point of the Cape Mabou Trail Club system, with several trails converging at or near its summit. I have already mentioned the Rids An Daraich (Oak Ridge) Trail, which climbs along the long ridge that descends on the left to Sight Point. The very steep Làirig Na Creige (Rocky Hillside) Trail connects the MacKinnons Brook Trail to the Rids An Daraich Trail not far from the Beinn Bhiorach summit, clambering up the steep hillside near the centre of the photo with fantastic views of the coast and of the terrain below along much of its length. The equally steep Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain) Trail ascends from the MacKinnons Brook Trail using the grassy areas one can see leading up to the Beinn Bhiorach summit at the right of the photo. And the Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail reaches the summit from the ridge at the far right. Finally, the Gleann Sidh (Enchanted Valley) Trail ascends the north side of Beinn Bhiorach, ending at the Coill à Bhraighe Trail in the col just below the Beinn Bhiorach summit. With the exception of the Coill à Bhraighe Trail when accessed from the MacEachen Trail, which is an easy, if longish, hike through the forest at the top of the Cape Mabou plateau with very little climbing, the other routes to the Beinn Bhiorach summit involve stiff climbs, at least for a person of my age and physical condition, but offer the irresistible lure of the marvellous panorama that greets one at the summit as well as the views along the way up, each trail presenting a different aspect of the area. Just thinking about all of these beautiful hikes makes me impatient to be back there again soaking in the stunning views! Fortunately, summer is no longer so very far off!
The area next to the coast below the Beinn Bhiorach summit is known as “The Meadows”, a view of which from the MacKinnons Brook Trail can be seen here. The Meadows were where the pioneers celebrated in Scott Macmillan’s MacKinnons Brook Suite made their home. According to the CD liner notes, Hugh MacKinnon, “an elderly man and a widower”, was the last of the family to reside there, being “taken away from his home by relatives who were concerned for his well-being” in the early 1940’s.
Even in this telephoto view, the location of MacKinnons Brook Mouth, which is at the southern (rightmost) end of the Meadows, is hard to make out, given the angle of this view. From this perspective, it is most easily identified by the eroded cliff face seen in this photo taken at MacKinnons Brook Mouth, which I take to be the one to the left of the greyish rock in the centre right of this photo.
At the far right of the photo, nestled in the forest above the cliffs, one sees the only house, a summer home, that remains in this area. Its size can be used to gauge its elevation and, allowing for distance, those of other physical features. There are a number of private land holdings along this coast, such as the one on which this house is found, only two of which have conservation easements protecting them from future development. Unprotected Crown lands are interspersed amongst these private holdings. One of the goals of the Cape Mabou Trail Club is to preserve this area in its current undeveloped, natural state; please join me in supporting their efforts in this direction.