Ben Avon's summit tor, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe

Ben Avon and neighbours from Linn of Dee

Hillwalking route up Ben Avon, Beinn a'Bhuird, Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

A fine route up Ben Avon and neighbouring Munros through Scots Pine forests full of wildlife - from grouse and deer to snakes and ant colonies. Higher up the route continues amongst dramatic scenery of cliffs and weird volcanic tors, where ptarmigan and hare entertain.

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap

Ben Avon (Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe)

Beinn a' Bhuird

Beinn a' Chaorainn

Beinn Bhreac

Walk ascent 1640m (5380ft)
         distance 34km (21m)
         time 11:15hr
Bike ascent 100m (320ft)
         distance 16km (10m)
         time 1:00hr
Start/finish Linn of Quoich
Grid Ref : NO174911
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Good cyclable tracks make for quick and easy access into the heart of this area.

The unusual volcanic tors on Ben Avon will have you wandering all over the place to investigate and the summit tor requires an easy scramble. Beinn a'Bhuird has huge cliffs with a summit on a vast plateau, with a tiny cairn resting there requiring navigation skills in mist.

Beinn a'Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac are slightly less interesting in comparison, picking these out from Beinn a'Bhuird or Ben Avon is not immediately obvious. Rough undulating moorland runs between the summits of these two Munros progress over which can be tedious in mist.

Route map

Route description

1. Getting to the start at Linn of Dee

Hiking up Glen Quoich

From Braemar, drive west along its main street, veering right at Taste coffee shop, then continue on an unclassified road for 9km to the bridge over the Linn of Dee. Cross the bridge, turn sharp right and you'll come to a large car-park on your left. There is a one-way system around this car-park which is operated by the National Trust for Scotland and there is a charge to park (£2 at time of writing).

2. Quoich Water

Cycling up Glen Quoich

A track heads west uphill from the roadside, bike up this, join another track and head north-west through beautiful Glen Quoich forest for 6km. Leave bikes where the track fords Quoich Water .

Cross the river - to avoid getting wet feet there are some handy boulders slightly upstream to bounce across on. The track on the other side of the river splits, take the right fork and follow it for just over 1km where it ends abruptly at the river's edge .

Pick up a path following the river bank. This path has seen some recent improvement work making for rapid and enjoyable progress. Look carefully as you walk by and you'll find large ant hills, some aside the path's edge.

After around 2km and out of the forest, the path heads down to cross Quoich water .

3. Ben Avon - Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe

Approaching Ben Avon's summit from the west

Cross Quoich Water (difficult in spate) and on the eastern side the path connects with another coming from Invercauld and then turns north.

Well maintained, this path continues around Carn Eas, crossed the Glas Allt Mor and climbs up to 'The Sneck' - the bealach between Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird. There are some interesting and weird weathered rocks at the col. A worn path then heads east and climbs up up loose and stony ground onto Ben Avon's wide plateau. From here Ben Avon's summit tor, Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe comes into view around 1km away.

Once the tor is reached, go through an obvious gap and around to the east side of the rock. Ascend the tor via a fairly easy and direct scramble. The views are good inall directions - try picking out the other tors and tops on Ben Avon's complex plateau and ridges.

4. Beinn a'Bhuird

The bealach between Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird

From the Ben Avon's summit, return south-west and back down to 'The Sneck' between Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird.

Follow a worn path heading west up some scree, zig-zagging on the way. Higher up the ground levels, becomes grass covered and then it's not too obvious as to what direction to aim - in mist this next section will be navigationally testing !

Keeping to the left (south) of Cnap a Chleirich the minor top ahead, hike in a generally westward direction for around 1km.

Beinn a'Bhuird's North Top begins to come into view, cross a small burn and continue over pathless grassy ground to the tiny cairn on the broad and vast summit. Due to the large flat area here, you'll have to walk a few yards from the cairn to get the best views !

5. Beinn a'Chaorainn

Beinn a'Chaorainn's summit cairn with Ben Macdui beyond

From Beinn a' Bhuirid's North Top, it's actually quite difficult to pick out Beinn a'Chaorainn in the view westwards, as Beinn Mheadhoin, Cairngorm and Bynack Mor all tower above this apparently insignificant Munro.

Aim due west from Beinn a'Bhuird's summit cairn for 1km over heather and down occasional short steep bouldery sections. The ground flattens and an occasional and indistinct path can be picked up. Continuing west, pass some lochans , cross a burn and aim directly over heather then boulders up Beinn a'Chaorainn.

If you fancy a slight de-tour then Beinn a'Chaorainn Beag and its lochans are worth a visit.

There's a large cairn on Beinn a'Chaorainn's summit from where fine views are to had on clear days to the surrounding higher peaks.

6. Beinn Bhreac

Beinn Bhreac from Beinn a' Chaorainn

Just 5km of grass-covered moorland separates Beinn a'Chaorainn from Beinn Bhreac, but can feel a bit of a tedious slog !

Initially on a worn path through scree, descent from Beinn a'Chaorainn's cairn, aiming southwards. As the path becomes more indistinct, begin turning west-south-west and drop to the flat Moine Bhealaidh.

The terrain now grassy, is interspersed with occasional wet peat hags and burns that can be rough underfoot, testing ankles. Beyond the peat hags, you should be able to trace a faint path to follow southwards.

As this path begins uphill, it becomes more obvious and ends up on the stoney ground between the two tops on Beinn Bhreac. Turn east over a minor rise to reach the cairn on Beinn Bhreac's main summit . Nice views south !

7. Return to Linn of Dee

Descending Beinn Bhreac into Glen Quoich

Heather clads the ground south of Beinn Bhreac and it's steep initially too ! Persist and you'll descend into a lovely Caledonian Scots Pine forest, following the Allt an Dubh-ghlinne back to your bike .

Rather than aiming directly down to Glen Quoich, an alternative route climbs over Meall an Lundain and although there's a bit of ascent, it's easier than the direct ascent, particularly when legs are becoming tired towards the end of a long hike. So from Beinn Bhreac's summit, aim south-west-south to a narrow gap, then climb lighty heather covered ground up Meall an Lundain . From this hill, turn east-south-east, downhill, then follow the edge of a felled forest down to Quoich Water .

Pick up your bike and enjoy the cycle back to Linn of Quoich.

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Steven Fallon
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