A' Mhòine

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A' Mhòine
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)[1]
A' Mhòine - geograph.org.uk - 1311587.jpg
A view across the blanket bog, towards Ben Hope
Map showing the location of A' Mhòine
Map showing the location of A' Mhòine
The location of A' Mhòine within Sutherland, at grid reference NC536607.
Map showing the location of A' Mhòine
Map showing the location of A' Mhòine
A' Mhòine (the United Kingdom)
LocationSutherland, Highland, Scotland
Coordinates58°30′39″N 4°30′44″W / 58.5107°N 4.5121°W / 58.5107; -4.5121Coordinates: 58°30′39″N 4°30′44″W / 58.5107°N 4.5121°W / 58.5107; -4.5121
Area59.95 km2 (23.15 sq mi)[1]
Governing bodyNatureScot

A' Mhòine (Scottish Gaelic: [ә.ˈvɔːɲә]) is a peninsula in the Highlands, Scotland. The peninsula is bounded to the west by Loch Eriboll, and to the east by the Kyle of Tongue. The A838 road crosses the peninsula on an east–west axis. Much of the peninsula is owned by Melness Estate on behalf of 59 crofters.[2]

The peninsula contains large areas of blanket bog covering 5,964 hectares (14,740 acres), forming part of the Flow Country.[2] Eriboll East and Whiten Head, at the western and northern sides of the peninsula, are designated as part of a special landscape area,[3] and the bog is one of 2 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) on the peninsula.[4][5][2] The peninsula sits within both a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation titled the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands,[2][6][7] and is home to greylag geese, golden eagles and dunlin, as well as "rare water-dependent plants, dwarf shrubs and alpine heath".[2]

Moine path[edit]

To the south of the peninsula, a wide track known as the Moine path runs for 18.5 km (11.5 miles) between Strathmore Hope Road and Kinloch Lodge, where it joins the road around the Kyle of Tongue.[8][9] The path runs around the northern end of Ben Hope and is popular with walkers. Its origins are unclear but it is thought to have been a drovers' road.[10]

Sutherland spaceport project[edit]

In 2018, the peninsula was selected by Highlands and Islands Enterprise[2] as the site for Sutherland spaceport, which would be the United Kingdom's first spaceport. Launches could first take place by 2023.[2][11][12]

Permission to build the spaceport has been opposed by a holding objection from the Wildland company of billionaire Danish couple Anne and Anders Povlson,[13][14] who argue that the area is protected under the Ramsar Convention,[2] a 1971 treaty covering internationally important wetlands, ratified by the UK in 1976.[2] The Melness Estate is in favour of the project, however, as rent from the spaceport and profit-sharing could help fund efforts to regenerate the peat bog and invest in the local community.[2] In June 2020, The Highland Council provided planning permission for the £17 million project, allowing 12 launches a year.[2] As of October 2020, the Scottish Land Court has yet to adjudicate on the change in land use.[2]


  1. ^ a b "A' Mhoine". Protected Planet. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Carrell, Severin (9 October 2020). "Residents of remote Scottish peninsula face up to its future as spaceport". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Assessment of Highland Special Landscape Areas" (PDF). Eon Energy. pp. 9–13. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  4. ^ "A' Mhoine Site of Special Scientific Interest". NatureScot. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Ben Hutig Site of Special Scientific Interest". NatureScot. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands SPA". NatureScot. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands SAC". NatureScot. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Heritage Paths - Moine Path". www.heritagepaths.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Moine Path Guided Wildife Walk with Highlife Ranger". North West Highlands Geopark. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  10. ^ "A' Mhòine". Dark Mountain. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  11. ^ Amos, Jonathan (16 July 2018). "Lift-off for Scotland: Sutherland to host first UK spaceport". BBC News Online. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  12. ^ Clark, Stephen (16 July 2018). "Scotland site selected as launch base for Lockheed Martin, Orbex". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Environmental concerns voiced over spaceport plan". The Herald. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  14. ^ "The U.K. Space Agency Has a Scottish Peat Bog Problem". Bloomberg.com. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to A' Mhoine at Wikimedia Commons