Beinn Loinne

Beinn Loinne from Cluanie

Hillwalking route from Cluanie Inn up Druim nan Cnamh on Beinn Loinne

The old road from Kyle of Lochalsh climbs from Cluanie Inn to a height of over 400m, from where a soggy hike over a lochan-pitted moorland reaches the trig point on Druim nan Cnamh, the highest point on Beinn Loinne.

Route outline


Druim nan Cnamh, Beinn Loinne

Ascent 620m (2030ft)
Distance 17km (11m)
Time 5:15hr
Start/finish Cluanie Inn
Grid Ref : NG939187
easy hard
easy hard
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ok fab

A hillwalking route in two contrasting halves - the first half is on the tarmac old road that used to run from Tomdoun to Cluanie before Loch Cluanie was dammed in the mid-1950's. This road rises gently over 4km to a height of over 400m. The second half is much same distance, but bounding over soggy moorland without any paths to follow. The effort is rewarded by fine 360° views from the summit.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Cluanie Inn

Cluanie Inn below Sgurr an Fhuarail

Cluanie Inn below Sgurr an Fhuarail

The A87 travels from Invergarry in the Great Glen, north west onto Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye.

As the road climbs westwards from Invergarry then drops northwards through Glen Loyne down to Glen Moriston, it meets with the A887 approaching from Invermoriston on Loch Ness. To the west of this junction, the road meets with Loch Cluanie, and at the western end of the loch is Cluanie Inn.

Parking used to be available for hillwalkers in a gravel area on the opposite side of the road to the Cluanie Inn. A bake house has since been built there and parking here is now restricted to customers for this and the Cluanie Inn.

There is space available to park a few cars right by the start of the hill-route, where the old road to Skye meets with the A87, just to the east of the Cluanie Inn.

The first 4km of the route is on tarmac and a bike could be of benefit. Personally, I think this distance is a bit short to justify the faff of bringing a bike and prefer to be on foot, enjoying the developing views on the way.

2. Druim nan Cnamh, Beinn Loinne

Beinn Loinne from the old road

Beinn Loinne from the old road

Having left the parking area, walk down the old road to sign by a bridge. Over the bridge, the road veers left (east) and meets with the head of Loch Cluanie.

Around 1km after leaving the parking area, a small cairn sits at the roadside and marks the start of a path uphill - this is an old stalkers path that travels up Druim Shionnach's northern shoulder - a fine option should you wish to extend the route to include this Munro and Creag a' Mhaim.

A further 1km on from the cairn, the road splits , with a private access to Cluanie Lodge heading off left. Keep right as the road climbs gently, gradually turning southwards.

Around 1.5km on from the junction, a wooden bench is met (a fine spot to pause and take in the views eastwards) and the road crosses over the fast flowing Allt Giubhais a lovely old bridge . The road makes a sharp turn eastwards, just beyond which is a stile in a high deer fence - over this fence a direct route following a faint path leads up to Creag a' Mhaim.

Keeping to the old road, follow it for a further 1km or so as it turns south once more and continues to climb gently. At a convenient point , perhaps by a small tree supported by a wooden post and protected from deer by wire mesh, leave the road and begin to head eastwards.

The view ahead is dominated by a hill - alas not Druim nan Cnamh's summit, but merely its rocky base. Hike over soggy moorland, twisting and turning while trying to aim directly up gently rising ground. There is no path to follow !

After 1km, ground levels and wide featureless area is met with the summit crest now in view ahead. A few little puddles are passed, then a much larger one , almost a lochan (see pic at top) is met. Druim nan Cnamh's slope increases again with just under 200m of ascent remaining to climb on grassy ground intersperced with boulders and stone.

Looking along Beinn Loinne from summit to Meall Dubh

Looking along Beinn Loinne from summit to Meall Dubh

On Beinn Loinne's western summit stands a small cairn and trig point, from where views are rather fine in all directions.

Looking along Beinn Loinne from summit to Meall Dubh

Looking along Beinn Loinne from summit to Meall Dubh

3. Return to Cluanie Inn

Descending west from Beinn Loinne's summit, Creag a' Mhaim ahead

Descending west from Beinn Loinne's summit, Creag a' Mhaim ahead

Simply a case of about-turning and re-tracing your steps back to the old road and on to the Cluanie Inn.

If you've got clear conditions, the views ahead on the descent are quite spectacular, with the ridges of Glen Shiel, Kintail and Ceannacroc looking fabulous !

As an aside - on this route many years ago, I had my first experience of using an iPhone with a GPS app. For a fair time while approaching Druim nan Cnamh's summit the GPS had me moving in a parallel direction but stubbornly recorded my position around 250m to the north of where I actually was. How things have since changed !

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Cluanie Munros

Above the northern shores of Loch Cluanie, hiking along the connecting ridges of A' Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire and Sgurr nan Conbhairean gives superb views over the Five Sisters and Affric to Skye, Torridon and beyond.

Peaks : 5 Munros

Ascent : 1850m (6070ft)
Distance : 23km (14m)
Time : 8:50hr

Meall Dubh from Glen Moriston

From Glen Moriston and Glen Loyne, excellent estate tracks put in place for the construction of windfarms enable a bike to be used to cycle up the hillsides of Meall Dubh, leaving a mere 1km of hiking to reach its summit.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 850m (2790ft)
Distance : 25km (16m)
Time : 2:30hr


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