Ben Rinnes

Ben Rinnes from Glen Rinnes and Dufftown

Ben Rinnes hillwalking and Highland Games Hill Race routes

This route up Ben Rinnes begins from the Glack Harnes col and is a straightforward up-and-down following a track and well-defined footpath. The Ben Rinnes Hill Race extends the route further by starting from Dufftown.

Route outline


Ben Rinnes

Ascent 530m (1730ft)
Distance 8km (5m)
Time 2:45hr
Start/finish Glack Harness
Grid Ref : NJ285360
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

This popular route up Ben Rinnes starts for the Glack Harness col between Glen Rinnes and Strathspey. It follows a fine estate track, then a well maintained path higher up.

If you fancy something tougher, try the Ben Rinnes Hill Race route which begins from Dufftown and adds in a couple of minor summits en route. The race is part of the Dufftown Highland Games and is a well marked on tracks and paths. As part of the Scottish Hill Runners Long Series, the race is an excellent introduction to long hill races.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Rinnes and Glack Harnes

The col of Glack Harness

The col of Glack Harness

The A95 runs along the length of Speyside from Grantown-on-Spey towards Elgin overlooked by Ben Rinnes on its south side.

A minor unclassified road links the A95 with the B9009 in Glen Rinnes via the col of Glack Harness, and just below the highest point of this bealach is a parking area and gate to access the hill.

In summer and weekends with good weather, this col can be busy, with parking becoming a bit problematic.

2. Ben Rinnes

Looking up the track to Ben Rinnes

Looking up the track to Ben Rinnes

The route begins from the car-park at the col, by a gate with several signs and a donation box.

Through the gate, an estate track aims south climbing gently at first. The track then becomes rougher as it twists, turns and climbs more steeply before leveling out and heading in a westerly direction.

The track continues to Roy's Hill above Ben Rinnes Wood, then gradually narrows into a path. As the path then climbs, it zig-zags to control errosion, above which it straightens for the final pull to the grassy summit plateau .

Summit of Ben Rinnes

Summit of Ben Rinnes

The highest point on Ben Rinnes is a little rocky place, with room for just a few people, aside which is a trig point. Being in such an isolated and commanding position, the panoramic view from Ben Rinnes's summit is expansive.

Summit of Ben Rinnes

Summit of Ben Rinnes

3. Return

Returning down the Ben Rinnes path

Returning down the Ben Rinnes path

Return by the same route.

Views eastwards from the path are significantly different from that seen when heading uphill and looking westwards - beyond the humps of Meikle Conval and Little Conval farmlands and forestry stretch towards the coastlines and North Sea.

4. Ben Rinnes Hill Race route

On the Ben Rinnes Hill Race

On the Ben Rinnes Hill Race

The Ben Rinnes Hill Race starts and finishes to Dufftown and climbs over some minor peaks before heading to Ben Rinnes summit. With an ascent of 1550m over a distance of 22km, this is a 'long' race with the fastest runners completing it in around 2 hours.

The race begins with a sprint around the Dufftown Highland Games field, then exits onto Hill Street, turning west. The runners are directed south onto a track, then after passing a row of houses, climbing begins. After running up through a narrow fenced channel between fields, and a quick blast through some woodland, runners follow a marked route around the edge of golf fairways on Dufftown Golf Course.

Out of the golf course, the route follows a faint trod through soft rush and deer grass to a fenced corner and onto open hillside. A faint path is followed to the trig point sitting at the northern end of Little Conval's traces of ancient fort.

A direct line through an obvious zig-zag path heads down Little Conval's southern heather clad slopes towards Glach-en-ronack. From this bealach, a wet trod is followed directly up Meikle Conval .

Heading south-west the route then drops to some peat-hags, then through thickening heather, descends steeply to the road and car-park in Glack Harness , where a drinks-station awaits. The runners then follow the route up Ben Rinnes to the summit crag , then about turn.

The return to Dufftown is by the same route and upon entering the games field, runners have to do a lap of the track, cheered on by the large crowd of spectators.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Corryhabbie Hill from Glenlivet

Right-of-way, estate tracks and sign-posts make for a fairly easy route up Corryhabbie Hill and Cook's Cairn. Combine them into one outing and there's a bit of off-piste bounding over heather to enjoy !

Peaks : 1 Corbett and 1 Graham

Ascent : 930m (3050ft)
Distance : 24km (15m)
Time : 7:25hr

Carn Mor from Scalan

Starting and possibly finishing at different points, this linear route discovers some interesting past lives and histories while bagging a heather-clad Carn Mor, north-east of the Lecht Ski Centre.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 450m (1480ft)
Distance : 6km (4m)
Time : 2:15hr

Carn Ealasaid from the Lecht

Starting from a height of the 635m by the Lecht Ski Centre, a fairly easy and short hillwalking route can be made over grass and heather to Carn Ealasaid.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 300m (980ft)
Distance : 7km (4m)
Time : 2:15hr

Morven hillwalking and race route

The shortest and direct route up Morven begins from near Logie Coldstone in Cromar and takes the form of a steep heathery trudge followed by a gentle hike over a wide crest. This route is also used for the ascent on the Morven Hill Race, with a detour for the descent.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 660m (2170ft)
Distance : 9km (6m)
Time : 3:20hr


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