In addition to Beinn Bhiorach, the Beaton Trail Look-Off offers fine views of the Cape Mabou Plateau above the valley carved by MacKinnons Brook, though there is now significant blockage from the trees and brush adjacent to the trail, causing some gaps in the views. The photos on this web page form a left-to-right panorama of these views.
Photo #1 starts at the eastern flank of Beinn Bhiorach and includes the col from which the Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail leads up to the plateau. That trail, currently closed, actually follows a course somewhat below the top of the plateau, climbing fairly gently, though enough to make me lose my breath, to arrive at a switchback, which ascends to the top at an evergreen tree with fine views of the valley below; I am not certain which one of the candidates one sees at the right of the photo along the summit marks that vantage point, but likely one of the group of four. In any case, it’s a fine spot to get a taste of things to come on the way to Beinn Bhiorach and a great spot to catch one’s breath and recollect on what one has seen on the way back.
Photo #2 overlaps slightly with photo #1 and shows the continuation of the plateau to the right (south). Dead spruce are scattered all across this photo, but plenty of beautiful, living hardwoods are there showing off their fall colours in the sun.
Photo #3 is further to the right of photo #2 and does not, I believe, overlap with it. The ridge descending to the left holds the MacArthur Trail, which runs from the Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail on the plateau down to the MacKinnons Brook Trail Head and offers a look-off with fine views somewhere in the vicinity of the bare hardwood tree sticking well up above the rest of the trees on the ridge. My friend and I hiked that far this June and found the trail, which is officially closed, badly overgrown, as one would expect after three years of no maintenance; we found the sign for the look-off, but where it led was so badly grown over we had no views there (or else we lost the side trail to the look-off in the overgrowth). The bottom of the trail is also impassible, as a great mass of dead spruce lie on its path from the MacKinnons Brook Trail Head; this will likely be one of the last trails in the system to be reöpened. What a terrible mess this spruce bark beetle has caused! Whether it is an effect of the day’s capricious lighting or not I can’t say, but the trees on these slopes look somewhat brighter and a bit further along than those on the flanks of Beinn Bhiorach, though there are still plenty of unchanged trees here too.
Photo #4 is still further to the right of photo #3, with which there is a little bit of overlap. This area is crossed by the Oir à Ghlinne (Edge of the Valley) Trail, also currently closed, which runs from the MacArthur Trail south and then west down to the col on the Cul Na Beinne (Beyond the Mountain) Trail north of the “White Bridge” over the MacIsaac Glen Brook; a look-off on the Oir à Ghlinne (Edge of the Valley) Trail offers a good view across the valley below, though I am unable to point out its location in this photo.
Photo #5 shows the end of the panorama of the Cape Mabou Plateau from the Beaton Trail Look-Off, where any further views to the south are blocked by the unnamed mountain at the far right on which the Beaton Trail itself is located and below which the Cul Na Beinne (Beyond the Mountain) Trail runs. Beyond that mountain in the middle ground, one can see the ridge down which the Oir à Ghlinne (Edge of the Valley) Trail descends. In the far distance, the ridge is another part of the Cape Mabou Plateau, this one rising above the valley carved by the MacIsaac Glen and Mill Brooks; if one were to follow it far enough to the east, one would end up at the Cape Mabou Trail Head beside the Community Pastures above Glenora Falls.