Ben Macdui from Braeriach

Ben Macdui

Munro peak and 2nd highest mountain in Scotland

The second highest mountain in Scotland, Ben Macdui is a vast domed lump rising above the Lairig Ghru in the heart of the Cairngorms. Most readily accessed from the north and never to be under-estimated in winter.

Ben Macdui

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
MeaningMacduff's mountain
ListsMunro, 2
LocationCentral Cairngorms, The Cairngorm Mountains
Grid RefNN989989
Lat/Lon57.07565, -3.66584

From lower ground surrounding Aviemore or the A9, Ben Macdui is mostly hidden from view, lurking behind other large mountains such as Cairngorm and Braeriach. Like these Munros, Ben Macdui is a rounded dome with the summit sitting above lochans and cliffs on its eastern aspects. To the west and south of the summit, ground drops steeply to the Lairig Ghru and Carn a'Mhaim. To the north a vast plateau runs from the summit towards Cairn Lochan and Cairngorm.

From the north and the east, there are some fine and well maintained paths to follow, including a section marked with cairns to aid navigation in mist. Much of the higher ground is fairly flat and mostly covered with granite gravel and boulderfields. Navigation can be tricky in mist !

There is a vast choice of routes to choose from, with the most direct being an approach on a fine path from the Cairngorm ski-centre car-park.

Hillwalking routes up Ben Macdui

1. Cairngorm and Ben Macdui »

Ben Macdui and Cairngorm are two of the highest mountains in the country and rest in on the vast plateaux of the Cairngorms in Scotland's eastern highlands. Starting from a height of 650m and with gently rising slopes leading up to the Munro summits, this is a relatively easy route in clear summer conditions.

Ascent : 1000m (3280ft)
Distance : 17km (11m)
Time : 6hr

2. Cairngorm 4000s »

The vast plateaux of the Cairngorms in Scotland's eastern highlands rise above huge cliffs and dark corries. On the plateaux are five of the UK's mountains over 4000ft including Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Toul and Cairngorm and these can be bagged in one circular route from Glenmore.

Ascent : 2250m (7380ft)
Distance : 28km (17m)
Time : 10:45hr

3. Cairngorm Darkside from the north »

Between Aviemore and Braemar and east of the Lairig Ghru are vast plateaus with several Munro peaks amongst the hidden lochans, long narrow crests, dark corries, huge cliffs and weird granite tors. This route heads in from Cairngorm ski centre heading as far south as Derry Cairngorm. The hidden gem of Loch Avon with its undisturbed beaches is visited en route, nearby a search will find the 'Shelter Stone' - a place to overnight out of wind !

Ascent : 1480m (4860ft)
Distance : 21km (13m)
Time : 7:45hr

4. Cairngorm darkside from Linn of Dee »

Between Braemar and Aviemore and east of the Lairig Ghru are vast plateaus with several Munro peaks. amongst the hidden lochans, long narrow crests, dark corries, huge cliffs and weird granite tors. Healthy forests surround the area with a diverse wildlife and, if you're lucky, you might come across a reindeer herd feeding on the arctic-like tundra.

Ascent : 1850m (6070ft)
Distance : 35km (22m)
Time : 10:15hr

Nearby hills and mountains »

Weather forecasts & webcams »

Guided hillwalking events in this area »

Ben Macdui from Braeriach in winterBen Macdui from Braeriach in winter
Ben Macdui from CairngormBen Macdui from Cairngorm
Ben Macdui's summit viewfinder with Braeriach beyondBen Macdui's summit viewfinder with Braeriach beyond
View from Loch Etchachan to Ben MacduiView from Loch Etchachan to Ben Macdui
Ben Macdui from Derry CairngormBen Macdui from Derry Cairngorm
Ben Macdui from Beinn MheadhoinBen Macdui from Beinn Mheadhoin


Upcoming events

30-31 Oct '21
21 Nov '21
Above Loch an Daimh
8-9 Jan '22
Winter Skills - Cairngorms
14 Jan '22
Cairngorm and Macdui
15-16 Jan '22
Monadhliath Munros


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Steven Fallon
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