Both routes here, one from the north and one from the south, provide a fine, long ridge walk over Braeriach,
Sgor an Lochan Uaine, Cairn Toul, and the Devil's Point.
However, that from the north has rather a lot of contouring round lower slopes
in order to include the Devil's Point.
The approach from Linn of Dee has the same length and marginally less ascent,
but is probably more pleasant as it replaces contouring round the west side of Cairn Toul
with an ascent of the Lairig Ghru, which has much more impressive views.
Using the Lairig Ghru to reach Cairn Toul or beyond from the north entails the loss of
nearly 300m from the Pools of Dee to Corrour Bothy.
Having to regain this height makes this possibility seems far too strenuous.
With straight-forward descents over the length of the western flanks of the ridge, the route from Loch an Eilein can be shortened more easily than that from the south should weather, day-light or fitness dictate. If this is a possibility, shortening the clockwise version has the following consequences. Omitting the Devil's Point shortens the route by 3 miles to 24.4 miles and the ascent to 1540m if Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir is still included, and by a further mile to 23.4 miles and only 1490m ascent if it too is removed. Omitting Cairn Toul as well reduces the mileage to 22.1 miles with 1345m of ascent. Omitting Sgor an Lochan Uaine but still including Carn na Criche shortens the walk still further, to just 19.6 miles with 1215m of ascent. Going only as far as the summit of Braeriach via the Sinclair Hut and returning by the outward route is a walk of 17.75 miles with 1195m ascent. So those who might do Munro tops in the future should include at least Carn na Criche with Braeriach as there is not much extra effort involved. If the ridge is broken into two walks, the mid point mountain, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, is marginally easier to do with Cairn Toul from the south than with Braeriach from the north.
The route from Linn of Dee is most easily shortened when done in a clockwise direction simply by returning by the outward route, but contouring horizontally on the western side between cols to omit going over the tops again, and descending Coire Odhar to Corrour Bothy. Apart from the two access points at the north and south ends of the ridge, there are no other sensible escape routes eastwards in this walk. Turning back after only the Devil's Point and Cairn Toul is a walk of 20.9 miles with 1300m ascent. Including Sgor an Lochan Uaine as well takes it to 22¼ miles and 1565m of ascent with a return over Cairn Toul, and to 22.0 miles with 1490m ascent if the return bypasses the summit of Cairn Toul.
Given the length of the walk in and walk out for both of these walks, I recommend building up enough fitness to do the complete ridge in one day. Of course, camping at one of the huts/bothies is also a possibility.
Braeriach on its own can be done sensibly from the car park at NH98540738 on Cairn Gorm (a mile north of the highest car park). However, as before, adding Cairn Toul from there involves some needless re-ascent over the Lairig Ghru pass.
Weather 6/10/16: Light breeze, dry, cloud base above tops, sunny intervals.
Map: The OS Explorer 403 does not cover the walk in from Loch an Eilein. The older Outdoor Leisure series map #3 does.
|0855||Parking at Loch an Eilein||250||0||0.0 miles||NH89740839|
|0905||Track SE to fork||265||15||0.75 miles||NH90580771|
|0920||Left fork of track E to cross roads||295||45||1.35 miles||NH91490786|
|1010||Right track S to bridge||435||195||4.1 miles||NH92400429|
|1030||Track S to wide ford||475||230||5.1 miles||NH92540291|
|1110||Track S to start of ascent path near
|1235||Good path S up to cairn||1010||765||8.5 miles||NN92689782|
|Contour horizontally as far as necessary
to reach southernmost desired top.
|—||Col just NW of the Devil's Pt||910||765||12.8 miles||NN97069538|
|—||Path SE to M Devil's Point||1004||850||13.2 miles||NN97619512|
|—||Path NW back to col||910||13.6 miles||NN97069538|
|—||N/NW to T Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir||1213||1150||14.5 miles||NN96259634|
|—||N to col||1167||14.75 miles||NN96159678|
|—||N/NE/N to M Cairn Toul, N top||1291||1275||15.1 miles||NN96349721|
|—||W/WNW to col||1140||15.4 miles||NN95849730|
|—||NW to M Sgor an Lochan Uaine||1258||1390||15.75 miles||NN95449769|
|—||W to col||1125||16.3 miles||NN94619756|
|—||SSW to T Carn na Criche (2nd cairn)||1265||1530||17.0 miles||NN93949828|
|—||Either NNE to dip at Falls of Dee
via Einich Cairn & Stob Coire an Lochain
|ENE to M Braeriach||1296||1635||18.45 miles||NN95339991|
|Good path NE/E/NNE down from
summit to T Sron na Lairige
|Excellent reconstructed path (last 1km)
to Sinclair Memorial Hut, Lairig Ghru
|Path N to cairn||337||24.3 miles||NH93810752|
|Path W over Cairngorm Club
footbridge to crossroads
|Track W/NW back to Loch an Eilein
|0555||Park at Linn of Dee (£2 in 2016,
free to National Trust members.)
|0605||Cycle N on path through forest to track||390||15||0.35 miles||NO06469029|
|0620||Track N to Bridge over Lui Water||400||35||1.15 miles||NO06359145|
|0655||Cycle to ftbr at Derry Lodge||425||65||3.1 miles||NO04069352|
|Cycle/walk Lairig Ghru path:
W to split/fence "gate" before Luibeg Br
|0735||Luibeg Ford (or Bridge further N)||470||115||4.9 miles||NO01559389|
|0745||Path W to just before giant granite slabs
at crest, where Carn a' Mhaim path starts
|0840||Path W/NW/N to split opp Corrour Bothy||560||260||7.45 miles||NN98559558|
|0955||Lairig Ghru path N to burn tributary||700||400||9.9 miles||NN97339932|
|1045||Steepish ascent WNW to col
(Use good stalkers' path in upper corrie,
as marked on 1:25k map)
|1055||NNE to T Sron na Lairige||1184||890||10.95 miles||NH96460062|
|Return SSW to col||1135||11.2 miles||NH96370027|
|Path SW to dip nr end of summit ridge||1215||970||11.4 miles||NH96090000|
|1130||W/SW to M Braeriach||1296||1050||11.95 miles||NN95339995|
|WSW to dip at Falls of Dee||1200||12.75 miles||NN94349921|
|1215||SSW to T Carn na Criche (1st cairn)||1265||1125||13.35 miles||NN93949828|
|1230||S/SE to col||1125||14.1 miles||NN94619756|
|1255||E/ENE to M Sgor an Lochan Uaine||1258||1255||14.65 miles||NN95449769|
|1310||SE to col||1140||15.0 miles||NN95849730|
|1330||E to M Cairn Toul, N top||1291||1405||15.33 miles||NN96349721|
|1350||SSW to col||1167||15.65 miles||NN96159678|
|1400||S to T Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir||1213||1455||15.95 miles||NN96259634|
|1425||Path E/S to bealach at corrie rim||910||16.85 miles||NN97039541|
|1440||Path SE to M Devil's Point||1004||17.25 miles||NN97619512|
|1455||Path NW back to col||910||17.67 miles||NN97039541|
|Path E to Corrour Bothy||560||18.4 miles||NN98109579|
|1520||Path to ftbr over R.Dee||545||18.7 miles||NN98369564|
|1525||Path SE to path split||560||1555||18.8 miles||NN98559558|
|1620||Path S/SE to end of Carn a' Mhaim path||540||1615||21.05 miles||NO01069389|
|1625||E to Luibeg Ford (or Bridge further N)||470||21.35 miles||NO01559389|
|E to split/fence "gate" after Luibeg Br||460||21.55 miles||NO01829383|
|1710||Path E to ftbr at Derry Lodge||425||23.1 miles||NO04069352|
|1745||Track SE to Bridge over Lui Water||400||1625||25.1 miles||NO06359145|
|1800||Track S to path through forest||390||1635||25.9 miles||NO06469029|
|1810||Park at Linn of Dee||375||1635||26.25 miles||NO06308980|