Hills: Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Bhreac (West Top), Beinn a' Chaorainn Bheag and Beinn a' Chaorainn
Date: Monday 17th September 2018
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 32.4km, Ascent: 1075m
Time: 9Hrs 05Mins

For the Cairngorms, the MWIS weather forecast suggested a calm between storms with "80% cloud-free Munros" and "excellent visibility". I therefore arranged to ascend Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorainn along with their Munro Tops. Beinn a' Chaorainn Bheag would all going well be my final Munro Top within the Cairngorms National Park.

We set off walking around 06:20 with high hopes that the cloud would lift to provide the forecasted weather. Alas, it did not - not impressed MWIS .

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I have walked from Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge countless times previously. This time was little different except for an exceedingly large number of fungi and plentiful Devil's Bit Scabious.

On arrival at Derry Lodge, as ever, it was a sad sight to see the fine building in a state of disrepair. Over the years there has often been talk of turning it into a hostel but nothing ever comes of it.

Mountain Rescue Hut next to Derry Lodge:

Beyond Derry Lodge, we continued a short distance along Glen Derry before taking to the hillside. There was no sign of the cloud lifting. If anything, it was actually dropping.

Start of track heading up Meall an Lundain:

It was nice to see some shapely Scot's Pine before heading-up into the clag.

Scot's Pine beyond Derry Lodge:

Looking back for a final view before entering the low cloud:

Once into the clag we followed an ATV track for a kilometre or so before crossing trackless, featureless ground. We did however eventually find a path which we followed towards the summit of Beinn Bhreac.

Circa 15km of navigating in low cloud:

In the mist it is easy to confuse solifluction with sections of path.


On reaching the summit of Beinn Bhreac we stopped only long enough to take a couple of photos before heading across to Beinn Bhreac's West Top. Having been paying lots of attention to bearings rather than summits, I mixed up what was the top and what was the summit. As we were visiting both anyway this made no difference.

At the summit of Beinn Bhreac:

At Beinn Bhreac's West Top:

At Beinn Bhreac's West Top I decided to get out my compass to follow a bearing instead of relying on Viewranger. Viewranger is great but when you have miles of flat featureless expanse to cross following a bearing is easier.

Miles of featureless ground:

After what seemed like an eternity of walking across flat, wet boggy ground we started our ascent of Beinn a' Chaorainn Bheag. Again we didn't hang around for long as we were conscious that the weather was set to deteriorate despite it already being fairly lousy. The wind was due to increase from 30mph to 60mph in the afternoon.

At the summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn Bheag:

From Beinn a' Chaorainn Bheag we next made our way across to Beinn a' Chaorainn.

Ann-Marie descending boulderfield on Beinn a' Chaorainn Bheag:

We did spend around five minutes at the summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn, our first real stop of the day. However, it was soon onwards and downwards as we commenced our descent via the SW ridge and then to the Lairig an Laoigh.

Summit selfie on Beinn a' Chaorainn:

Bagging the summit:

Bagging the summit:

It was good to drop below the cloud on reaching the Lairig an Laoigh. On the downside, we could now see how far we had yet to walk back .

Long walk out to Derry Lodge and beyond to Linn of Dee:

The long walk out was not as bad as antipicated. On approaching Derry Lodge we passed more lovely Scot's Pine.

Scot's Pine near Derry Lodge:

The final five kilometres back to the car park was just a case of disengage brain and put one foot in front of the other.

Scot's Pine on walk back from Derry Lodge:

Despite completing all the Munros, Munro Tops, Corbetts, Fionas and Marilyns in the Cairngorms National Park, I will continue to frequently visit the Cairngorms. The Cairngorms are incredibly special and are unlike any other hill range in the UK.

Well done to Ann-Marie on completing this walk. Definitely a step-up from Schiehallion .