Beinn a'Chaorainn's tops from the Moine Bhealaidh

Beinn a' Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac

Biking and hillwalking route up Beinn a' Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac from Linn of Dee

Beinn a' Chaorainn and Beinn Bhreac are not the most exciting Munros in the Cairngorms, but views from their summits to surrounding peaks and landscapes are rather fine. The cyclable route in through Glen Derry to the foot of these hills is through lovely Scots Pine forests full of wildlife - if you're luck, you might even see a capercaillie !

Route outline


Beinn a' Chaorainn, 

Beinn Bhreac

Walk ascent 800m (2620ft)
         distance 18km (11m)
         time 6:00hr
Bike ascent 50m (160ft)
         distance 10km (6m)
         time 1:00hr
Start/finish Linn of Dee
Grid Ref : NN852976
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

The easiest route up Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorainn heads in from Linn of Dee near Braemar. Through forest and woodland a fine estate track leads to Derry Lodge in the heart of this area, ideal for cycling on.

From Derry Lodge, tracks and path gain the foot of these mountains, from where heather clad slopes lead to rough undulating moorland running between Beinn Bhreac and Beinn a' Chaorainn's Munro summits, over which progress can be testing if in mist.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Linn of Dee

From Braemar, drive west along its main street, veer right at the Braemar Brewery and Patisserie. Continue onwards on an unclassified road for 9km to the bridge at the Linn of Dee.

Cross the bridge over the River Dee, turn sharp right, uphill slightly and you'll come to a large, well sign-posted 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 (£3 at time of writing).

2. Derry Lodge

Cycling up to Derry Lodge

Cycling up to Derry Lodge

From the Linn of Dee car-park, head northwards up an obvious path (sign-posted) through the forest. The path climbs gently, crosses some bog via a wooden walkway, then meets up with the track travelling up the west side of Lui Water.

However, if you'd prefer to cycle from the start (which I'd recommend), it's easier to go out of the main park entrance, head east along the road to the start of the track by the bridge over Lui Water, then turn north on the track. Either way head up the track, cross the bridge over Lui Water , and reach Derry Lodge some 5km from the car-park. Leave bikes here.

3. Beinn a' Chaorainn

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

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

Keeping on the south and east side of Derry Burn, follow an obvious track through delightful Scot's Pine forests northwards for around 3km. The track climbs gradually, then descends as the forest is left behind and views begin to open up. Now walking on the floor of Glen Derry, hike another 3km or so following the track to reach the burn coming down from the Moine Bealaidh . Cross the burn, which can be problematic in spate, then head directly uphill north-east through heather to the flat area south of Beinn a' Chaorainn. Cross the ground, wet in patches and ascend Beinn a' Chaorainn, picking up a developing path on the way.

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

4. Beinn Bhreac

The Moine Bhealaidh and Beinn Bhreac from Beinn a'Chaorainn

The Moine Bhealaidh and Beinn Bhreac from Beinn a'Chaorainn

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

Initially on a worn path through scree, descend 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 !

5. Return to Linn of Dee

View south to Lochnagar from Beinn Bhreac

View south to Lochnagar from Beinn Bhreac

From Beinn Bhreac's summit, aim south-west-south to a narrow gap between it and Meall an Lundain. Turn west, and pick up a faint path making a route through heather back to the path in Glen Derry . Retrace your steps to Derry Lodge, pick up your bike and return to Linn of Dee.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

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Ascent : 1740m (5710ft)
Distance : 50km (31m)
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Time : 5:30hr

Carn na Drochaide from Linn of Quoich

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