A charity has bought an entire MOUNTAIN after fundraisers collected £1.6million in just eight weeks.
The Woodland Trust Scotland bought 1,752ft Ben Shieldaig after it was put up for sale by a private landowner.
The stunning peak is home to an ancient pinewood forest that can be traced back to the end of the last ice age, as well as a temperate rainforest of native birchwood.
The huge mound is teeming with Scottish wildlife including sea eagles, golden eagles, red squirrel, pine marten, otter and the UK’s smallest dragonfly.
The charity announced it had successfully bought the mountain yesterday.
It now plans to “begin the process of planting, protecting and regenerating” the mountain which stands next to Loch Torridon in the northwest highlands.
Woodland Trust Scotland director Carol Evans said: “The public reaction to our appeal has been absolutely fantastic.
“A huge thank you is due to everyone who contributed.
“This is a rare chance for us to bring a whole mountain under our care.
“It already supports a magnificent area of ancient Caledonian pinewood and a Scottish rainforest of native birchwood.
“Perhaps even more exciting is the potential to manage these within a mosaic of their natural neighbours.
“Our aim is to see native woodland, montane scrub and open moorland habitats meshing naturally with each other from sea to sky.
“That would encapsulate all that a restored landscape can be, not just in Torridon but across the Highlands.”
The mountain – classified as a Marilyn but not a Munro – covers about 3,800 acres, set in the Torridon landscape in the Wester Ross National Scenic Area.
It has views from the summit towards Skye and the Outer Hebrides, and has walking routes.
It contains some of the world’s rarest lichens, bryophytes and liverworts, and is home to the UK’s smallest dragonfly – the black darter.
The Woodland Trust Scotland said it was now looking to raise £3.4 million to spend on management.
It said: “With your help we can use our expertise to manage the woodland, combining careful woodland creation with natural regeneration and effective deer management.”