We continued along the Beaton Trail across the unnamed mountain seen earlier from the relocated Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail to the north end of the further mountain, where open views are available along the trail at and above the trail register there; beyond this point, the Beaton trail starts to descend smartly and the views are lost. I think of this as the Beaton Trail look-off, but, in the few years since the trail was opened in 2006, a fair amount of brush has grown up which, along with several trees and dead spruce, are beginning to make it hard to get good shots of the wonderful views of the Cape Mabou Highlands. You will see such artefacts in most of the photos taken this day from here.
Beinn Bhiorach, as it is everywhere it is visible, draws one’s eyes to it first. Photo #1 is a fairly wide-angled photo of that view, with only a portion of the “bump” at the far left I call “Little Benny” in the shade. I didn’t make it to the summit this year again, alas, the second year in a row I’ve failed to get there—with the MacEachen Trail still closed, it is very hard on my aging body to ascend from the MacKinnons Brook area, just reaching which is already a hard hike for me; the views from the wide-open grassy area in the upper centre of the photo, though, are certainly worth the effort and I hope to find the strength to make it there one more time when the days are long enough to allow me plenty of extra time. Lots of green hardwood trees haven’t yet changed colours along the flanks of Beinn Bhiorach, but a few reds and oranges can be seen amongst those that have.
Photo #2 shows a telephoto view of the eastern flanks of Beinn Bhiorach and the col and part of the plateau at the far right, bringing the trees and their colours into sharper focus. The Beinn Bhiorach Trail climbs the grassy slopes between the evergreens at the far left up to the summit; this is the shortest and the hardest of the routes from the MacKinnons Brook Trail Head.
Photo #3 is a telephoto view along the western flanks of Beinn Bhiorach. These slopes have far fewer hardwoods than in the interior valley carved by MacKinnons Brook and many of those one sees here have been stripped bare by the strong winds coming off the Gulf. The Rids An Daraich (Oak Ridge Trail) descends towards Sight Point from the Beinn Bhiorach summit along the ridge at the upper right of the photo. Another trail, currently closed, the Làirig Na Creige (Rocky Hillside) Trail, ascends from the MacKinnons Brook Trail directly up the side of the mountain to the summit; like the Beinn Bhiorach Trail, this is not an easy climb, and if one is going to attempt it, going up is much better than coming down.