The Loch Arkaig Pine Forest consists of two blocks of native Caledonian woodland: Coille a Ghuibhais (the pine forest), known as South Loch Arkaig; and An t-Seann Fhrith (the old deer forest), known as Glen Maillie. The site is near Spean Bridge in the Scottish Highlands, 16km (10 miles) north of Fort William.
Oak, hazel and alder skirt the loch, while Scots pine dominates the higher reaches. There is birch too, and ancient pollarded holly bushes once tended by cattle drovers to provide winter fodder. The site is brimming with wildlife. Pine marten, red deer and wild boar roam. Flying overhead are a range of Britain’s birds of prey, from the very smallest, the merlin, to our very largest, the sea eagle, as well as osprey and golden eagle. There are signs of red squirrel although they are seldom seen, and we hope to one day find that most elusive of our native animals – the wildcat.