Walk the Wild with the John Muir Trust: Schiehallion
East Schiehallion covers an area of 871 hectares. This includes the eastern part of Schiehallion and the quieter and wilder Gleann Mòr to the south. The Trust maintains the path up this Munro, and works to improve the important habitats here.
Schiehallion is anglicised from the Gaelic, Sìth Chailleann, meaning ‘Fairy Hill of the Caledonians’. It is home to red deer, hares, many different birds and a wide range of habitats. You can find all sorts of wild flowers and wildlife here.
The JMT works to improve the important upland habitats of Schiehallion. This includes heather moorland and bog, which are home to threatened species such as black grouse.
They’re also working to restore native woodland by controlling deer and sheep numbers where possible. Deer are an essential part of the ecosystem but high numbers prevent trees from growing and impact other habitats.
The JMT work closely with their neighbours at Dun Coillich and Kynachan. In July 2017 they launched the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership, a collaborative project to connect woodlands across 3,000 hectares of land between Schiehallion and Loch Tummel, benefiting wildlife, visitors and the local community.
Schiehallion is a popular Munro, with more than 20,000 people ascending the summit every year. When the Trust took ownership in 1999 the main path to the summit had become an ugly scar on the hillside. It was muddy and up to 90 feet wide in sections. Over a five-year period, the Trust realigned the path onto a more sustainable and less intrusive line.
Staff and dedicated volunteers built the new path using locally sourced materials. They have since embarked on a programme to heal the damage caused by the old path, and the scar is much less noticeable. The JMT maintains the new path to prevent erosion. Through their Schiehallion Path Appeal they are hoping to raise £60,000 for a full programme of path improvements in 2019.
How you can help
Becoming a member of the John Muir Trust is a great way to help take care of the wild places you love now and in the future. TGO readers can get a 25% discount when joining online by using the promotional code: TGOWILD. Find out more and sign up to help the UK’s leading conservation charity dedicated to the experience, protection & repair of wild places at: www.johnmuirtrust.org/join
Header image courtesy of the John Muir Trust