Tuesday 30 May 2017

Meetings & Mountains

Stob Coire Easain, Sgurr Innse, Stob Ban & Stob Coire Claurigh from Cnap Cruinn

Last weekend I was in Fort William for the John Muir Trust AGM and Members’ Gathering. As last year this was inspiring and thought-provoking. The amount of work the Trust staff do is impressive and humbling. We heard about wind farms, peatlands, talking to politicians, forestry, footpaths, deer management, the John Muir Award, membership numbers (they’re up!),  Glenridding and Helvellyn, fund raising and much more. There was an open forum with many interesting questions and responses. The event closed with an interesting presentation by the Nevis Landscape Partnership. There was of course plenty of time to talk to delegates, other Trustees and staff as well. It’s an intense time.

JMT Head of Policy Helen McDade talking at the AGM

In between the AGM bit and the evening events a group of us went to the Lochaber Geopark Visitor Centre for an interesting talk  - and one that left me wondering why this and the North West Highlands Geopark are struggling for funds while Highlands and Islands Enterprise pours millions into the continuing shambles at Cairngorm Mountain.

Stob Coire na Gaibhre & Aonach Mor from Beinn Chlianlaig

With much to think about and absorb a walk in the wilds seemed a good way to start digesting it all so on the way home, after lunch at the excellent Darwin’s Rest in Roybridge, I went up little Cnap Cruinn, a hill I hadn’t climbed before. Surrounded by much bigger, much more impressive mountains it’s easily overlooked. However like many small hills separated from bigger ones by deep glens it’s a superb viewpoint with splendid vistas all around that I savoured on the walk along the broad ridge to the subsidiary summit of Beinn Chlianlaig. 

View to the Easains and the Grey Corries from Cnap Cruinn
There were many birds too – piping golden plover, white-rump flashing wheatears, and rasping ptarmigan. The hill flowers were appearing – pink moss campion amongst the stones on the tops, white cloudberry amongst the heather, yellow tormentil on the sheep-cropped grasslands. In Inverlair Forest at the foot of the hill I could see the work being done by the Corrour Estate to turn the plantations into more diverse forestry with improved biodiversity. Conservation and restoration in action. 

View over Inverlair Forest from Cnap Cruinn

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