Hills: Carn Liath and Creag na Dail Bheag
Date: Sunday 12th January 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 20.8km, Ascent: 730m
Time: 5Hrs 30Mins

When is a Corbett not a Corbett?

On 9th October 2013, Carn Liath (Corbett) and neighbouring Creag na Dail Bheag (Corbett Top) were surveyed using accurate GPS. Creag na Dail Bheag was found to be circa 1.5m higher than Carn Liath.

Following the survey, Creag na Dail Bheag was correctly promoted to be the Marilyn and Carn Liath was demoted.

Creag na Dail Bheag (863m) should also have been promoted to be the Corbett summit and Carn Liath (861.5m) should have been demoted to Corbett Top. However, as the Scottish Mountaineering Club “own” the Corbett list, we continue to await their deliberations – and may do for some time!

I first ascended Carn Liath in June 2000. However, in June 2000 I did not visit Creag na Dail Bheag .

I therefore set out today to ascend both Carn Liath and Creag na Dail Bheag such that a) I can claim to have ascended the Marilyn and b) will still have completed all the Corbetts once the SMC eventually proclaim the change.

I didn’t have a pre-determined route today. I made it up as I went along.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On arrival at the Keiloch car park, I paid the £2.50 parking charge and got suited and booted. The early morning sky was beautiful.

Nice morning sky at Keiloch car park:

From Keiloch, I made my way along Lady Carr’s Drive towards Invercauld House. On reaching the track junction signposted ‘Public Footpath to Tomintoul via Loch Builg and Inchrory’ I took the path towards Tomintoul.

Ascending the track through the forest North of Invercauld House:

As I made my way along the track I could see that Beinn a’Bhuird was plastered in snow, as was Lochnagar looking back. However, there was minimal snow at Corbett height.

Looking West from within the forest:

After walking circa 2.5km through the forest, I reached the main track leading towards Carn Liath and Culardoch. I last walked this track in 2002. While this track is great for walking and cycling it doesn’t provide great views of surrounding hills apart from the view back towards Lochnagar.

On the main track towards Carn Liath, Culardoch and onto Loch Builg:

Carn Liath:

Looking back towards Lochnagar and the White Mounth hills:

Meikle Pap and Lochnagar (zoom):

On reaching a high-point on the path, I followed a faint track towards the base of Carn Liath and then made my way up through the heather and snow.

I expected the snow today to be either soft or slushy. I was wrong. All the snow encountered today was perfect, crisp neve.

Ascending slopes of Carn Liath:

Culardoch from slopes of Carn Liath:

Despite the snow being hard and crisp my axe and crampons remained in my rucksack throughout the day. No steep ground was encountered.

Ascending Carn Liath:

The view from the summit of Carn Liath was fairly good.

View from the summit cairn of Carn Liath:

From the summit of Carn Liath, I continued South for several hundred metres to visit two further cairns.

View from the cairn a few hundred metres South of the summit of Carn Liath:

View from cairn looking down towards Braemar:

The Cairnwell (zoom):

From the southerly viewpoint cairns, I returned to the summit of Carn Liath and then made my way across to the main target of the day, Creag na Dail Bheag.

Creag na Dail Bheag from the col:

En-route to Creag na Dail Bheag, I visited several potential high-points.

At the summit of Creag na Dail Bheag:

Creag na Dail Bheag provides great views of the huge expanse of Ben Avon. Nearby Creag na Dail Mhor is a Munro Top of Ben Avon.

Ben Avon panorama from the summit of Creag na Dail Bheag:

A distant snowy Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain (Beinn a' Ghlo) (zoom):

View from Creag na Dail Bheag:

View from Creag na Dail Bheag:

View from Creag na Dail Bheag:

At Creag na Dail Bheag, I decided to descend via the wide ridge out to Meall Glasail Beag instead of returning back via the same route. The descent was very pleasant down perfect neve, short heather and frozen moss.

View during descent from Creag na Dail Bheag:

Beinn a’Bhuird during descent (zoom):

View from summit of Meall Glasail Beag:

From Meall Glasail Mor, I picked out a line descending to the Gleann an t-Slugain track. On reaching the Gleann an t-Slugain track I walked out to Keiloch via Altdourie and Invercauld.


An enjoyable day out thanks to list tampering .