Colin's Munros


Cairn Toul & Beinn Bhrotain, maps 43, 403S
13th July 2003 & 21st June 2008

Route: Walking Part: 1715m = 5625' ascent; 17.9 miles; 9¼ hrs
Cycling: 132m(out) + 35m(return) = 167m = 550' ascent; 10.0 miles; 2hrs

Route: This is a longish day with several possible variations. Really fit walkers could add in the whole of Braeriach by walking up the Lairig Ghru almost to its highest point. Less fit walkers could omit Cairn Toul whilst those not doing Munro tops could save 50m of ascent and 1¼ miles by cutting out Tom Dubh.
There is a natural pairing of Braeriach with Cairn Toul when approaching them from the south. For such a walk, the start would be Derry Lodge from which there are excellent paths all the way up the Lairig Ghru, as here.
However, Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mor demand an approach from White Bridge, and the paths from there to Corrour Bothy are poorer than from Derry Lodge, no matter which side of the Dee you are. By 2016 both paths had had some maintenance. On the west side, the path is easily cyclable for 2 miles north from White Bridge but then deteriorates more and more as one goes further north before turning westwards along the Geusachan Burn. Path construction had not gone beyond the Allt Garbh in April 2016. Geusachan Burn can be crossed without too much difficulty if it has not rained for a day or two but the path does not continue northwards to the Bothy. I recommend not trying to cycle beyond the small cairn at NN996899 marking a path up to the Munro top Carn Cloich-mhuilinn, and instead continuing from there on foot.
As long as Cairn Toul is to be included in the walk, a more sensible alternative is to leave any bike at White Bridge and walk up to Corrour Bothy using the path on the east side of the Dee. In my opinion it is not cyclable beyond the first few hundred yards and there's virtually no indication in the peat of mountain bikers ever passing this way. Nevertheless, the path does go as far as Corrour Bothy and is of better quality on the non-cyclable sections, which form the majority of the distance. This choice would exchange about four miles on the bike (on the west bank) with four on foot (on the east bank) and avoid potential difficulties crossing the Geusachan Burn. Note that the River Dee cannot usually be forded safely before the bridge at Corrour Bothy.
Tackling only Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mor without Cairn Toul can be done from Glen Feshie. However, from the south one choice is to ascend Glen Geusachan. It is easy to reach Loch nan Stuirteag at which point the route given here can be joined. If Tom Dubh is not an object of desire, then it would be easier to take a route over Beinn Bhrotain to Monadh Mor, returning via the bealach between them and contouring round the SW flank of Beinn Bhrotain's summit if necessary to avoid a re-ascent. This return route would be much easier and shorter than going via Glen Geusachan.
The flattish area to the north and north-west of Tom Dubh is fairly boggy due to its height and rainfall, and the burns are not that simple to cross as there are few significant stones to aid a dry crossing. It may help to keep north of the Allt Luineag on the approach to Tom Dubh and, on leaving, to cross the burn just where the gully starts.
There is also an optional minor detour to the top Carn na Criche of Braeriach which adds 245m ascent and 1.1 miles to the version which includes Cairn Toul.
Lastly, this route includes a trivial detour to the east top of Beinn Bhrotain for the view. A more obvious and direct line of descent would omit this.

Weather 21/6/08: Neither warm nor cool; dry, some light cloud, sunny intervals, light breeze. 4°C at car at 0630 after overnight frost.

13/7/0321/6/08 Cycling In Description Alt.Asc.Dist.Gird Ref
06200650 Park at Linn of Dee 373   00.0 milesNO06308980
06500715 Cycle W to White Bridge 405353.1 milesNO01908845
0730 – Cycle N to cairn at path end 460905.0 milesNN99698969
 –0750 or cycle N to below ridge end 460905.0 milesNN996903

13/7/0321/6/08 Walking Description Alt.Asc.Dist.Gird RefMob.
07300750 Cairn at path end (10m after the stream) or just beyond 4601320.0 milesNN99698969
or NN996903
 0820 N to end of rocky path under waterfall just before cliffs 5001652.0 milesNN98589213 
 0855 Cross Geusachan Burn (May become impassable after heavy rain.
It was just possible without wet feet after several dry days.)
5002003.3 milesNN97559416 
09200925 N to Corrour Bothy 5652604.6 milesNN98109579 
 1005 Path W to corrie rim 9106055.3 milesNN97009547 
10051015 Path SE to M Devil's Point 10047005.75 milesNN97619512Orange
 1025 Path NW back to col 9107006.2 milesNN97009547 
10501100 NW to Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir 12139957.05 milesNN96259634 
 1110 N to col 1165 7.35 milesNN96159678 
N to M Cairn Toul, N top 129111257.65 milesNN96349721Orange
 1145 W to col 1145 8.0 milesNN95849730 
11501200 W/NW to M Sgor an Lochan Uaine 125812358.35 milesNN95449769No Orange
 – EITHER: SSW to bealach by Loch nan Stuirteag 899 9.9 milesNN93749586 
1310 – W/SW to T Tom Dubh the most insignificant of all tops! 918118011.0 milesNN92159527No Orange
 –  OR optionally: WSW/WNW to col 1125 (8.9 miles)NN94599758 
 –1240 WNW/NNW/NE to T Carn na Criche (2nd smaller cairn) 1265(1375) (9.8 miles)NN93949829Orange
 –  SSW beside stream to lochan on plateau 880 (11.55 mi)NN92219584 
S to T Tom Dubh 918(1415)(11.9 mi)NN92159527No Orange
   THEN: Due E to Allt Luineag
(Keep N of where the gully starts.)
865 11.2 milesNN92479525 
1330  (optionally) E/SE to minor (deleted) top 974138511.6 milesNN92909475 
1440 SE to M Monadh Mor 1113152512.3 milesNN93879421Orange
1420  S to S top of Monadh Mor 1110154012.75 milesNN93879348 
 1505 SE to bealach 975 13.45 milesNN94729272 
SE to M Beinn Bhrotain, trig pt 1157172514.0 milesNN95419228Orange
15201545 (optionally) E to Beinn Bhrotain, E top 1108175014.6 milesNN96269235 
   S to bealach 860 15.55 milesNN96569087 
16001610 S to T Carn Cloich-mhuilinn 942183015.8 milesNN96859067Orange
 1650 Either W to Carn Fiaclach for view then ENE to path
along glen or head directly for cairn at NN99698969,
along the line of which is a path of sorts.
460184517.7 milesNN99578995 
16551700 Valley path at cairn for path up Carn Cloich-mhuilinn 460184517.9 milesNN99698969 

13/7/0321/6/08 Cycling Out Description Alt.Dist.Gird Ref
 –1700 Bike below ridge end 4600 milesNN996903
16551710 Cairn at path end 4600 milesNN99698969
1740 Cycle S down track to White Bridge 4051.9 milesNO01908845
17551800 E to Car Park at Linn of Dee 3735.0 milesNO06308980
1805 – E to Victoria Bridge (via Mar Lodge) 3357.8 milesNO10228956
1830 – E/NE to Braemar 33011.6 milesNO15109139

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