A lovely trip to the top of the chairlifts at 650 m on the northern slopes of Meall a Bhuridh, affording stunning views over Rannoch Moor to the surrounding hills. The chairlift follows the watercourse, Allt nan Guibhas, over heath, and takes about 12 minutes to reach the top.
At the top of the chairlift, there are toilets and the Eagles Rest Café (open only in the peak weeks in Summer). There are two viewpoints (indicated by cairns) on the slopes of Creag Dhubh (748 m). The viewpoints afford stunning views of the Glencoe Massif and Buachaille Etive Mor in Glen Etive. The viewpoints are accessed via a gravel track/path with metal bridges across the watercourses. The track/path is fairly well defined but can be a little muddy and indistinct in places. The first view point is 150 metres away and the second is about 1.2 km.
The vegetation is mainly upland grassland with some heath, interrupted by rocky outcrops, boulders and loose screes. Species seen on route include with mat grass (Nardus stricta), bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum), butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris), heather (Calluna vulgaris), crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina), eyebright (Euphrasia spp), thyme (Thymus polytrichus), heath milkwort (Polygala serpyllifolia), sea plantain (Plantago maritima), devil’s bit scabious (Succisa pratensis), lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica), goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) juniper (Juniperus communis), hard fern (Blechnum spicant), heath spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata ssp ericetorum), alpine lady’s mantle (Alchemilla alpine), starry saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris), dwarf cornel (Cornus suecica) and mountain everlasting (Antennaria dioica), as well as various species of hawkweeds (Hieracium spp), sedges and rushes. The rocky outcrops are covered with crustiose white, grey and yellow lichens and cushion mosses. Wetter areas support diverse bryophyte assemblages.
The viewpoints affords panoramic views over the glaciated valleys of Glen Coe and Glen Etive. Stunning views are afforded towards the towering ancient peaks of Beinn a Chrulaiste, Meall nan Ruadhag, Stob na Cruiche , Meall Bhalach and Meall a Bhlridh, as well as the fine peak of Buachaille Etive Mor; some with snow filled hollows and peaks in the height of summer. Good views are also afforded Rannoch Moor, an SSSI, a Special Area of Conservation and RAMSAR site, consisting of a vast expanse of blanket bog with a number of lochs, pools and small channels, as well as hummocky glacial deposits. Rannoch Moor consists of a mosaic of plant communities including blanket mire, bog pool, heath, rush pasture and grassland.
Look out for a range of fauna including red deer, ringed ouzel, meadow pipit, buzzard, hen harrier, mountain hare, ptarmigan, golden plover, dotterel, snow bunting and golden eagle. Look out for day flying montane moths and the mountain ringlet butterfly (Erebia epiphron).
Other activities offered include mountain biking, climbing and archery in Summer and snow sports (snowboarding, skiing and sledging) in Winter.
THe chairlift is open Monday to Friday 9.00 - 16.30 and weekends 8.30-16.30 subject to weather conditions (check website for details). The ski-lift can be seen extending to the top of Meall a Bhuiridh at 1108 metres, but this section is only open in Winter.
A lovely trip on a fine day with stunning views of mountains and glens; there is also an opportunity to explore the flora and fauna characteristic of this mountainous region.