Woodland Trust Scotland launches £1.6m appeal to buy Highland mountain
A conservation charity is hoping to raise £1.6 million to buy a mountain in the north-west Highlands.
The Woodland Trust Scotland plans to buy the 543-metre (1,781ft) Ben Shieldaig in the Wester Ross National Scenic Area after it was put on the market by its private landowner.
The mountain is home to two areas of woodland featuring ancient Caledonian pinewood and a temperate rainforest of native birchwood.
The Trust plans to manage the land by employing a site manager and a project manager.
Charity director Carol Evans said: “This is a rare opportunity for us to bring a whole mountain under our care. It already supports a magnificent area of ancient Caledonian pinewood and a temperate rainforest of native birchwood.
“Perhaps even more exciting is the potential to manage these within a mosaic of their natural neighbours.
“We aim to manage the site for wildlife and people and encourage recreational access – perhaps building a small car park and creating a path to a viewpoint for visitors to enjoy.
“We will consult with local people about our plans once we secure ownership. Before anything can happen though, we need to raise the money to fund the purchase.”
The Trust say natural regeneration of the land combined with planting could triple woodland cover on the mountain.
As well as the woodland, Ben Shieldaig is home to wildlife including sea eagles, golden eagles, red squirrels, pine martens and otters.
Ms Evans added: “Our aim is to see native woodland, montane scrub and open moorland habitats meshing naturally with each other from sea to sky.
“That would encapsulate all that a restored landscape can be, not just in Torridon but across the Highlands.”