Access: Either drive 3.9 miles from Linn of Dee to Linn of Quoich and park just before
bridge in layby on left, or drive along the A93 to Invercauld, take the turning northwards 300
yards east of the bridge there and park on the right after 300 yds.
Both Routes: This is one of the top ridge walks in Scotland, but it is long and arduous whichever start point is chosen if all the Munro tops are included. One route has Linn of Quoich as the starting point. The other has the rather more usual start in Keiloch. However, apart from the walks in and out, the routes are almost identical. In both cases a bike may be of help for about four miles in each direction, and I used a bike on two of the three occasions.
As usual, the route includes all the Munro Tops. Omission of them will shorten the walk by 10 miles, but this would remove much of the pleasure from the full trip. Beinn a' Bhuird currently has three Munro tops and two deleted tops besides its summit. The southernmost top 1177m is deleted, as is A' Chioch 1151m. These two are adjacent to the Munro top of 1179m at NO092986 which is naturally on both variants of this walk. Likewise, the Munro top Cnap a'Chleirich 1172m is en route. However, Beinn a' Bhuird's remaining Munro top, Stob an t'Sluichd 1107m, requires a detour of 2.2 miles. The ridge out to it provides superb views S and SE into Garbh Choire.
The 12 significant tops of Beinn Avon are widely distributed. Currently, the summit is joined by only 4 others classified as Munro tops, the remaining 7 having been deleted. Two of the Munro tops are down the south ridge, as is one of the deleted tops, and so they are naturally on the circular route. The other two, West Meur Gorm Craig and East Meur Gorm Craig are down the north east ridge, which terminates at Meall Gaineimh 912m and is very appealing for inclusion. These two Munro tops add a further 5.2 miles to the distance, and the return takes one naturally over the deleted top Big Brae. The stacks out SE to Stuc Gharbh Mhor are well worth inclusion; they include three of the deleted tops as well as providing some very short, fun scrambles and fine views. The detour north to the deleted top Stob Bac an Fhurain is well rewarded for the little extra effort by the views. The only other deleted top, Stob Dubh an Eas Bhig at NJ133002, is a barn due south of the summit. It's a short detour to visit, but its deleted status seems well-deserved.
The main escape route, should things turn pear-shaped, is the path heading south from the bealach at NJ11800102 between Beinn a' Bhuird and Beinn Avon. The whole route can be broken into two manageable expeditions at this point, one mountain in each part.
Walk in from Linn of Quoich: One can easily walk or cycle from Linn of Quoich up the track on either the east or west side of Glen Quoich (4.1 or 4.7 miles respectively) as far as the easternmost bend at NO092952 where the track fords the Quoich Water. Note, however, that the Quoich Water may be difficult to cross after rainfall. If this might be an issue, walk up the west side to avoid the need to ford the river before heading up hill. If the Quoich cannot be crossed at the end of the day, the circular walk brings one back to the south side of the ford from which one can walk back to the start. That only becomes a problem if there is a bike or other gear to recover on the north side.
For the walk out from the higher ford on the path at NO11139587 to this track bend and ford, there is a much better path on the north side of the Quoich Water than on the south side.
Walk in from Keiloch: This version is probably marginally preferable to that starting at Linn of Quoich. It only uses the higher ford of the Quoich Water which should be a bit easier than the lower one which the other version might use. Also, the path which is used there between the two fording points is of much lower quality than the constructed paths used in the version starting at Keiloch. The difference in ascents is wholly due to there being fewer detours in the Keiloch variant. However, if the detours were the same for both walks, the Keiloch version would be 1.15 miles longer.
Kit: A head torch should be taken as both routes are very long, even for a summer day; gaiters for wet valley vegetation & poles to help over large amounts of descent.
Route from Linn of Quoich:
Weather 24/05/07: Torch required until 04.00; prolonged rain showers 06.30–12.45; increasing wind from light to strong; in cloud 09.30–12.00.
|0515||11/07/03: Depart Braemar on bike||330||0.0 miles||NO15199146|
|Cycle W & cross R. Dee at Victoria Bridge||335||3.8 miles||NO10228956|
|E to Linn of Quoich||375||5.2 miles||NO11419109|
|0715||N up W side Glen Quoich to easternmost
bend in track where track crosses
Quoich Water and park bike.
|2355||Park at Linn of Quoich||330||0||0.0 miles||NO11709102|
|EITHER Walk a few hundred yards N up the path on the E
bank of the Quoich Water to small house & bridge, then right
up hill to the track. Follow track N for 1 mile. Then fork left
along edge of forestry instead of going up hill. Continue to
eastern-most bend in track. Cross Quoich Water at track ford.
|0715||—||OR Cycle 3.8 miles N up the track on the W bank
of the Quoich Water and then take right fork after bridge.
Continue E to ford at eastern-most bend in track.
|(The following mileages assume the shorter east bank route)||4.1 miles||NO09219520|
|THEN Head N up ridge to X Beinn a'Bhuird, south S Top.
(No path visible, & first 500' is thick heather.)
|0830||0340||N on plateau to T Beinn a'Bhuird, S Top||1179||900||6.3 miles||NO09279864|
|NW to main (first) col||1128||6.67 miles||NO08889912|
|N over plateau to M Beinn a'Bhuird, N Top||1197||980||7.7 miles||NJ09250059|
|0950||0500||NE to T Stob an t'Sluichd (Wartime aircraft remains & memorial)||1107||1035||9.6 miles||NJ11210274|
|1025||0530||Return S/SW, then S/SSE to T Cnap a'Chleirich||1174||1205||11.0 miles||NJ10780101|
|1035||Optional detour S to Cnap a'Chleirich (S top)||1125||NJ109006|
|1100||0550||E to bealach||975||1215||11.6 miles||NJ11800102|
|0615||E up to plateau, then NE to X Ben Avon, SW top||1135||1385||12.2 miles||NJ12590135|
|NE to M Ben Avon, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe,
and ascend stack (on N side) to claim summit.
|1145||0700||NNE/NE ½ mile to next stack.||1136||1460||13.22 miles||NJ13730247|
|1210||0720||NE/N/NNW to X Stob Bac an Fhurain||1076||1472||13.9 miles||NJ13690332|
|Contour round SE/S & partly reascend Mullach Lochan
nan Gabhar before descending to col
|1245||0755||NE to T West Meur Gorm Craig||1023||1522||15.3 miles||NJ15360363|
|1305||0820||E to stream, then N to T East Meur Gorm Craig||935||1552||16.05 miles||NJ15950422|
|1325||—||EITHER: S back to West Meur Gorm Craig||1023||NJ15360363|
|1355||—||Continue to stack Clach Chousaich||1105||NJ14320185|
|1405||—||S to X Stuc Gharbh Mhor||1120||NJ14730125|
|OR: Cross country via X Big Brae 942m
on direct bearing to X Stuc Gharbh Mhor
|THEN N/NW to stack Clach Chousaich||1105||1802||18.7 miles||NJ14320185|
|1425||1015||N to stack X Mullach Lochan nan Gabhar||1122||1830||18.85 miles||NJ14330214|
|1435||1030||N then W to Stack||1136||1875||19.4 miles||NJ13730247|
|1445||1045||SW back to M Ben Avon, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe||1171||1930||19.9 miles||NJ13190188|
|1455||1100||SW back to X Ben Avon S. top||1138||1955||20.4 miles||NJ12590135|
|1505||—||Optionally SE to stack X Stob Dubh an Eas Bhig||1061||NJ134003|
|1530||1130||S to T Carn Eas||1089||1975||21.8 miles||NO12259926|
|SE down to bealach||905||22.45 miles||NO12969851|
|1610||1200||SSE to T Creag an Dail Mhor||972||2045||22.67 miles||NO13179822|
|1640||1240||Ridge WSW then descend W to path junction in valley||610||2050||24.05 miles||NO11679672|
|1735||1355||Path S/SW back to track ford at Quoich Water||465||26.35 miles||NO09219520|
|1840||1540||Track W/S/SE back to Parking at Linn of Quoich||330||2100||30.5 miles||NO11709102|
|1735||11/07/03: Bike at Quoich Water ford||465||0.0 miles||NO09149524|
|1840||Cycle S by E bank of Quoich to Linn of Quoich||330||4.2 miles||NO11949131|
|1900||W through Mar Estate to Victoria Bridge||335||5.6 miles||NO10228956|
|1920||E to Braemar||330||9.4 miles||NO15199146|
Route from Keiloch:
Weather 20/04/16: Warm in sun, very light breeze, cloudless all day except ¾hr from 1700, dry; full moon. Slow progress due to heavy, melting soft snow on plateau above 3000ft. Wasted over an hour following wrong turn on bike up a forest track.
|2355||Park at Keiloch||320||0||0.0 miles||NO18819119|
|Track NW to Invercauld Ho
(Straight on after 300m)
|Left at Altdourie||360||40||1.9 miles||NO16649318|
|Incorrctly turned right here instead of going straight on.||350||50||2.25 miles||NO16109326|
|Took wrong track uphill to its end|
|0620||Descended back to valley path. (Wrong turn cost ~1hr)||350||NO16109326|
|0725||Leave bike at path split
(Not worth the effort of ascending steep section)
|0745||Follow track up E bank to ruin||575||275||5.22 miles||NO11939520|
|0755||Path E to bealach||595||295||5.4 miles||NO11759547|
|0800||Track NW for 300m to path at corner||590||295||5.6 miles||NO11559569|
|0815||NW to tricky ford on path||535||5.9 miles||NO11119588|
|0905||Path NW/N to end on col
(Lost path over ½mile between river and mountain)
|1030||NNW over small bump to T A'Chioch||1179||940||8.2 miles||NO09279864|
|NW to main (first) col||1128||8.6 miles||NO08889912|
|N over plateau to M Beinn a'Bhuird, N Top||1197||1015||9.6 miles||NJ09250059|
|1220||NE to T Stob an t'Sluichd
(Wartime aircraft remains & memorial)
|1315||Return S/SW, then S/SSE to T Cnap a'Chleirich||1174||1240||12.9 miles||NJ10780101|
|E to bealach, “The Sneck”||986||1255||13.5 miles||NJ11800102|
|E up to plateau, then NE to X Ben Avon, SW top||1138||1420||14.1 miles||NJ12590135|
|1500||NE to M Ben Avon, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe,
and ascend stack (on N side) to claim summit.
|1525||NNE/NE ½ mile to next stack.||1136||1500||15.1 miles||NJ13730247|
|NE/ENE to col||983||1510||16.1 miles||NJ15090299|
|1600||NE to T West Meur Gorm Craig||1023||1550||16.5 miles||NJ15360363|
|1615||E to stream||905||16.85 miles||NJ15920362|
|N to T East Meur Gorm Craig||935||1580||17.25 miles||NJ15950422|
|1325||S back to stream||905||17.6 miles||NJ15920362|
|1645||S to near X Big Brae||942||1615||17.8 miles||NJ15840330|
|1700||W back to col||983||1655||18.7 miles||NJ15090299|
|1715||WSW to ridge end||1075||1750||18.6 miles||NJ14640284|
|SW/WSW to Stack||1136||1820||19.25 miles||NJ13730247|
|1750||SW back to M Ben Avon, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe||1171||1875||19.8 miles||NJ13190188|
|1805||SW back to X Ben Avon S. top||1138||1900||20.3 miles||NJ12590135|
|SE to col||1067||21.0 miles||NJ12520024|
|SSW to T Carn Eas||1089||1920||21.65 miles||NO12259926|
|1915||SE down to bealach||905||22.3 miles||NO12969851|
|1930||SSE to T Creag an Dail Mhor||972||1990||22.55 miles||NO13179822|
|2000||Ridge WSW then descend W to path junction in valley||620||23.7 miles||NO11679672|
|2005||Path S to cairn at first split||610||1995||23.9 miles||NO11679672|
|2015||Path S to second split||580||1995||24.4 miles||NO11629592|
|2025||Path S to bealach||595||2010||24.75 miles||NO11759547|
|2030||Track SE round to above ruin||600||24.95 miles||NO11989527|
|E to bike at path split.||480||25.55 miles||NO12909500|
|Cycle on track by moonlight SE to forest||395||27.25 miles||NO15189413|
|Track SE to Altdourie||360||28.4 miles||NO16649318|
|2150||Track SE back to Keiloch car park||320||2030||30.3 miles||NO18819119|