Colin's Munros


Beinn Mheadhoin, Maps 36, OL3, 403; 16th August 2005

Route: 970m = 3175' ascent, 12.8 miles cycling + 7.1 miles walking, or 6.4 miles cycling + 13.5 miles walking, 6 hrs.

Coire Etchachan from Lairig an Laoigh. Ben Macdui and Loch Etchachan from Stob Coire Etchachan. Ben Macdui and Loch Etchachan from Stob Coire Etchachan. Coire Etchachan from Stob Coire Etchachan. The summit barns of Beinn Mheadhoin. Loch Avon from Stacan Dubha. Carn Etchachan from Stacan Dubha. Loch Avon and Stob Coire an t-Sneachda from Stacan Dubha. Loch Avon and Bynack More from Stacan Dubha.

Route: An extended version of this walk, which includes the Munros Beinn a' Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac, is given on the previous page. No-one climbing Beinn Mheadhoin should omit the Munro top Stacan Dubha. It requires virtually no extra effort – perhaps 25m more ascent – but has wonderful views, particularly over Loch Avon and its surrounding mountains and cliffs. Except in strong winds, the summit stack or barn of Beinn Mheadhoin is straightforward to ascend. Just go round it until an easy route is found.
If taking the western path up Glen Derry, you can start off up the wheeled vehicle track but take care to go right at the rather indistinct fork at NO04149379 for otherwise you will continue onto a rather boggy ATV track one or two hundred yards to the west of the walkers' path. However, note also that the upper bridge over the Derry Burn at NO03979577 is officially closed. (Last checked in March 2019.) It is described as dangerous, apparently because of flood damage to the eastern pier (see CairngormWanderer).
The OS 1:25k map shows two enclosures without trees in Glen Derry. The surrounding deer fences have been removed and there are now mature scots pines there.
North of these plantations, there is a potentially difficult ford of the Glas Allt Mor at NO03599869 where a bridge is surely needed. Otherwise, be aware that weather conditions such as high winds can make it dangerous to ascend the exposed summit barn of Beinn Mheadhoin.
Evaluation: Stacan Dubha is arguably the best of all the Munro tops for views. Some of the above photographs were taken from there, and I would certainly ensure to include the top on every return visit to Beinn Mheadhoin.
Weather: Warm with sunny intervals; 30 mins (12:20-12:50) with cloud down to 4000' & light drizzle. Cool, strong breeze on top.
Access: Bike used but only helpful from Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge. The time & effort to go much further was not worth it, especially as path construction has made crossing burns very difficult without dismounting. The authorities should re-build these paths. Mountain bikers are not a problem here, and the paths are unnecessarily difficult for the disabled. I cycled as far up Glen Derry as possible (to N end of second plantation) but it is probably faster/easier by only cycling to a little beyond Derry Lodge. I would expect to walk that track at about 3mph, so I saved only about 20 minutes by cycling beyond Derry Lodge, and it took more mental and physical effort than walking, leaving less time and opportunity to enjoy the scenery of that most beautiful of glens.

0925 Park at Linn of Dee 375   00.0 milesNO0627289820
0935 Cycle to bridge over Lui Water 400  421.2 milesNO06359145
0955 Cycle to Derry Lodge 425  723.1 milesNO0410793414
1025 Cross to W side of Derry Burn & path N up Glen
Derry. (The E side is probably marginally easier.)
Cycle N to footbridge over Derry Burn (unsafe?)
5001504.75 milesNO03969579
1055 Leave bike 110yds N of 2nd plantation 5351906.3 miles
0.0 miles
1105 Path N up Glen Derry to split 6002500.55 milesNO03539905
  Path N up Lairig an Laoigh to boundary 7403951.4 milesNJ0333100490
1205 Branch WNW (steep but easy ascent) to
T Stob Coire Etchachan NJ024005
10827352.0 milesNJ02470055
  NW to col 1056 2.2 milesNJ02180068
  Contour round N and up to col 11448252.65 milesNJ02280144
1230 N to M Beinn Mheadhoin and ascend barn. 11828602.87 milesNJ02460169
  Return SSW to col 1144 3.1 milesNJ02280144
  SSW skirting top with barn, then W to col 1147 3.3 milesNJ02020123
1250 SW to Beinn Mheadhoin S top (cairn) 11638803.4 milesNJ01850117
  SW for 250yds, then down easy fast "scree"
composed of coarse granite sand to col.
985 3.85 milesNJ0131601277
1305 NW to T Stacan Dubha 10139054.0 milesNJ01190153
1325 S to path at county boundary, then SSE to
path confluence at Little Loch Etchachan
9259154.85 milesNJ01290032
1340 Path ESE down to Hutchison Memorial Hut 700 5.55 milesNO0229999792
1355 E to footbridge 625 6.15 milesNO03209948
1400 SE to junction with Lairig an Laoigh path 600 6.55 milesNO0353599050
1410 Path S to bike near deer fence enclosure. 5359157.1 miles
0.0 miles
1435 Cycle S to level with bridge over Derry. 5209351.55 milesNO04059578
1455 Take track on E bank to Derry Lodge 4259553.4 milesNO0410793414
1510 S to bridge over Lui Water 4009555.3 milesNO06359145
1520 P at Linn of Dee 3759706.5 milesNO0627289820

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