Highlands & Islands

Climbing routes near Inverness closed by pine marten

Pine marten Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Pine martens can have up to five young

A female pine marten has closed off two popular climbing routes near Inverness after building a den at the top of the crag.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said the Ephemeral Artery and Venus Return routes on Moy Rock should not be used.

It said it was an offence to harm pine martens or their dens. Females can give birth to up to five young during April.

The MCofS said the routes were closed until further notice.

At this time of the year the council usually gives advice on climbs to be avoided because of nesting birds, with ravens having previously nested at Moy Rock.

It said it was unusual to be issuing a warning about a mammal.

Image copyright ALpin Stewart/Geograph
Image caption The crag is popular with climbers

Pine martens were once found all over Britain before their numbers fell because of persecution in the 19th Century.

By the 20th Century they were only found in remote forests and rocky moorland in north west Scotland. They were given full legal protection in 1988.

Scottish Natural Heritage said numbers have recovered since.

Climbs on the crag are listed by UK Climbing and Scottish Climbs. Other routes on the rock include ones named Scooby Doo, The Dark Side and The Ticks Ate All the Midgies.

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