Lancet Edge above Culra

Geal-Charn via the Lancet Edge

Hillwalking route up Geal-Charn, Beinn Eibhinn and neighbouring Munros from Culra via the Lancet Edge

There are four Munros in the group of peaks north of Culra Bothy, Carn Dearg, Geal-Charn, Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhinn, all forming a linear ridge route. One of the most interesting routes up takes in the Lancet Edge, a narrow ridge heading up Geal-Charn.

Route outline



Carn Dearg, 

Aonach Beag, 

Beinn Eibhinn

Walk ascent 930m (3050ft)
         distance 13km (8m)
         time 5:00hr
Bike ascent 400m (1310ft)
         distance 31km (19m)
         time 1:30hr
Start/finish Dalwhinnie
Grid Ref : NN663846
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Probably the finest way to explore Geal-Charn and the neighbouring Munros is to be based by Culra Bothy for a couple of nights, taking in the Geal-Charn group of four Munros in one day and the Ben Alder group on the other day. For the Geal-Charn group, this gives the opportunity this huge mountain by heading up (or down) the sharp ridge above Culra known as the Lancet Edge. There's some fairly easy scrambling on this ridge.

There's a conundrum however - how to fit in the nearby Munros of Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhinn ?

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Dalwhinnie

Carn Dearg above Loch Pattack

Carn Dearg above Loch Pattack

By car, Dalwhinnie is just off the A9, half way between Perth and Inverness. Alternatively arrive by train, all the way from Euston if you need !

In Dalwhinnie, head up the road to towards the railway station, turning left just before it and continue along 'Alder Road' past some houses to the railway crossing. There's a turning circle here and you can usually park just before it. It can get a little conjested here, alternative parking is available near the petrol station and the south side of Loch Ericht dam.

2. Culra Bothy

Camping at Culra, Lancet Edge on right

Camping at Culra, Lancet Edge on right

From Dalwhinnie, cycle from the crossing down the lochside on the fine estate track that hugs the western shore of Loch Ericht. Just before meeting the third gate-house, turn right uphill and continue to the highest point on the track and Culra Bothy can be seen ahead in the far distance. There are some wonderful spots to wild-camp by the Allt a'Chaoil-reidhe.

For more details on the route to Culra Bothy, see the Ben Alder 6 Munros page.

3. Carn Dearg

Heading up Carn Dearg, Lancet Edge on right

Heading up Carn Dearg, Lancet Edge on right

From Culra Bothy, aim north-west, directly uphill. The ground is heather-clad, although patches of grass can be picked up to ease the slog. After around 300m of ascent the gradient easies and the north-eastern shoulder of Carn Dearg comes into view.

Upon reaching Carn Dearg's north-east shoulder, a path can be picked up and followed onto Carn Dearg's grassy covered summit plateau meeting up with its large summit cairn shortly thereafter.

4. Geal-Charn

Geal-Charn from Carn Dearg

Geal-Charn from Carn Dearg

Leaving Carn Dearg's summit cairn behind, and continuing south-west along the summit plateau, you'll come to another cairn, from where bouldery terrain is encountered. No avoiding this unfortunately !

Below the boulderfield, terrain is much easier and a delightful hike leads over Diollaid a'Chairn (a Munro Top) to the ridge between Loch Coire Cheap and Loch an Sgoir. Ahead a steep climb up a narrow ridge leads towards Geal-Charn, there is a path zig-zagging all the way - beware, in winter this can cornice over !

A small cairn marks the top of the ridge and the edge of the vast plateau that is Geal-Charn. From the cairn, a bearing of appx 242o and a distance of 1km will get you onto Geal-Charn's summit marked by a cairn perched above Coire na Coichille. Note that this last 1km in mist will require some good navigation skills !

Decision time ! Head over the remaining Munros of Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhinn, or tackle the Lancet Edge ?

5. Lancet Edge

The Lancet Edge and Geal-Charn from near Culra

The Lancet Edge and Geal-Charn from near Culra

From Geal-Charn's summit, aim on a bearing of 94o for just short of 1km, which will take you to the top of the drop that leads down to Sgor Iutharn. Grassy ground initially as you begin descending leads to unavoidable boulderfield, but easily negotiated.

The bealach reached, a walk on flat terrain heads to the Munro Top of Sgor Iutharn . The descent down the Lancet Edge is pretty straightforward with some sections of easy scrambling. There are traces of a faint path to follow on the way, with some excellent views.

At the bottom of the ridge, head down to the fine path following the northern bank of Allt a'Bhealaich Dhuibh, cross the burn coming out of Loch an Sgoir and return to Culra.

6. Aonach Beag

Looking back along to Geal-Charn from Aonach Beag

Looking back along to Geal-Charn from Aonach Beag

From Geal-Charn's summit, head south-west and follow a path along the crest above Coire na Coichille. The route drops to a bealach, from where it's a mere 100m to climb to reach the broad summit of Aonach Beag , the cairn being a slight dog-leg to the right (the path is a bit vague on the summit).

7. Beinn Eibhinn

Beinn Eibhinn from the east

Beinn Eibhinn from the east

Ahead is Beinn Eibhinn, a shapely mountain crest encircling a coire above the small dark lochan, Lochan a'Charra Mhoir. From Aonach Beag's summit aim due south-west and drop down just over 100m on a well-worn path to a bealach.

The path climbs up the dome ahead and then reaches a flat area with significant drops to Lochan a'Charra Mhoir on the right. The base of the final climb up Beinn Eibhinn is reached , from where the path leads onto the summit . Superb views from this summit !

8. Return to Culra

Aonach Beag above Coire a'Charra Bhig

Aonach Beag above Coire a'Charra Bhig

Leave Beinn Eibhinn's summit and return to where the start of the final climb began . Leave the crest and drop down loose grass covered steep ground south-east. As the gradient easies, turn east and pick up the eastern shoulder of Beinn Eibhinn to follow downhill. It's grass covered and a pleasant jog.

Cross the burn coming down from Coire a'Charra Bhig, then the Uisge Labhair .

Briefly climb the hillside directly infront and meet up with a well-defined path that travels from Culra to Ben Alder Cottage on Loch Ericht. Follow this path north-east up to Bealach Dubh and back to Culra .

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Ben Alder Forest Munros

One of the finest ways to reach Ben Alder is a cycle down Loch Ericht followed by a circular route from Culra Bothy. Lots to encounter - high plateaus, lochans, ridges, fantastic views - all while bagging 6 Munros !

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Ascent : 2400m (7870ft)
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Time : 11:5hr

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Time : 7:30hr

The Fara circuit

Longer and much more enjoyable than a direct route up from Loch Ericht, a delightful circuit on estate tracks and grass covered slopes leads to The Fara's large summit cairn from where vast vistas can be savoured.

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Ardverikie and Loch Laggan Munros

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