CLIMBERS have been stopped from accessing part of a crag in the Highlands after pine martens moved in.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) took the decision to close two routes on Wednesday, after the nest was found on Moy Rock in Ross Shire.
A female pine marten has made a den about 23ft from the top and is thought to be expecting young.
Pine Martens are a legally protected species and females can remove or even eat their young if disturbed whilst nesting.
Moy Rock, 16 miles northwest of Inverness near the village of Contin, has several graded routes, making it a regular spot for climbers.
A MCofS spokesman said: “The pine marten has been spotted at the top of one of the climbs at Moy Rock.
“It has a den close to the top of one of the climbs and, as pine martens are protected from disturbance, climbers are asked to avoid these two routes until further notice.”
Pine martens can have up to five young, called kits, kittens or cubs.
It is the first time that the MCofS has asked climbers to avoid routes for the mammals.
The routes closed to the public are called Ephemeral Artery and Venus Return.
However climbers can still dare the elements on the rock using circuits called Scooby Doo, The Dark Side and The Ticks Ate All the Midges.