UK's first national nature reserve celebrates 70th anniversary


Beinn Eighe NNR, the UK's first national nature reserve, is celebrating becoming 70 years old.

The 48 sq km reserve covers Beinn Eighe, a mountain in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. It was set up in 1951 to protect an area of Caledonian pine forest. The reserve is home to rare species of lichen, as well as deer, Pine Martens and Golden Eagles.

Ben Catchpole's winning image of Beinn Eighe (Ben Catchpole).

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To mark the 70th anniversary NatureScot, the public body that manages the site, held a photography competition to "showcase its dramatic landscape and habitats". The winner was Ben Catchpole of Norwich, who spent time at Beinn Eighe as a volunteer, with second place going to Rachel Drummond of Wester Ross.

In 2019, Beinn Eighe NNR was named the UK's first genetic conservation area. NatureScot and its scientific partners took the step to protect the unique DNA fingerprint of the area's Scots pine trees – Scotland's national tree.