Following the fence-posts to Carn na Caim

East of Drumochter

Hill-walking route on the Munros east of Drumochter

Carn na Caim, A'Bhuidheanach Bheag and Meall Chuaich form a linear route on the eastern side of Drumochter Pass. Having a bike or other transport organised will save a long return route as the start and end points are around 11km apart.

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
Munros A' Bhuidheanach Bheag
Carn na Caim
Meall Chuaich
Ascent 1100m (3600ft)
Distance 25km (16m)
Time 8:10hr
Start Drumochter Pass, layby 82
Grid Ref : NN631763
Finish Chuaich on A9
Grid Ref : NN655867
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Terrain is fairly easy underfoot, with fence-posts aiding navigation from A'Bhuidheanach Bheag to Carn na Caim. North of Carn na Caim, the ground is heather-covered with no paths to follow until nearing Meall Chuaich.

Route detail

Getting there »
  • Start from layby 82 on the A9, in Drumochter Pass, around 9km south of Dalwhinnie.

A'Bhuidheanach Bheag »
  • From the layby, walk to the southern slip to the edge of some forestry surrounded in deer-fence. There is a stile over the fence, cross this and head through the forest. On a path, you'll quickly come to the other end of the forest, where another stile is climbed to get over the deer-fence again.
  • Now on open hillside, cross a burn to get on its southern bank and begin heading directly up steep ground over and through heather.
  • The rate of ascent easies as heather becomes more stunted and a line of fence-posts are picked up and followed for around 2km to the trig point on A'Bhuidheanach Bheag's summit .

Carn na Caim »
  • Leave A'Bhuidheanach Bheag's trig point and head north following the fence-posts for 500m. Where the fence-posts take a sharp turn east , continue north directly downhill to a wet flat area. Cross a burn here and pick up an excellent track heading northwards uphill.
  • This track meets up with the line of fence-posts, heads over a bump and then to a minor summit (marked 902m on OS maps) - this is the point of an escape route down to the A9 just south of Dalwhinnie.
  • Continue following the fence-posts or track over another minor summit (marked 914m on OS maps) on towards Carn na Caim. Over undulating ground, a sharp turn in the fence-line just before Carn na Caim's summit. Carn na Caim's summit cairn cannot be seen from the turn in the fence-line, but the worn path on the ground indicates the way.

Meall Chuaich »
  • Having left the large cairn of Carn na Caim behind, turn east and descend gentle slopes. The ground is pathless with occasional fence-post, but as it covered in a light layer of grass and heather, is fairly easy to progress over.
  • After around 2km leaving Carn na Caim, you should meet up with an old gate , at this point begin heading north-eastwards and drop a little to a bealach, into deeper heather-clad ground on the way.
  • Uphill briefly, a further 2km on and a burn travelling north-east can be hand-railed to the edge of Coire Chuaich where a very obvious path is met.
  • Follow this path above some crags and down to the base of Meall Chuaich , then slog up steep slopes meeting up with a line of fence-posts that travels to the large cairn on Meall Chuaich's summit . There's a fine view over the Monadh Liath and Rothiemurchus hills from here.

Descent to A9 »
  • From Meall Chuaich's summit cairn, retrace your steps south-west for around 100m following the fence-posts, then head west over boulders to pick up an obvious worn path.
  • Use this path (really mucky on the lower slopes) to get down to a bridge over the Allt Coire Chuaich and to a bothy by Loch Cuaich - a fine place for a stop to look back up Meall Chuaich. Now on a fine estate track, follow this past a dam and aside an aqueduct for 4km back to the A9, where hopefully a bike or other transport awaits .
  • If you haven't left a bike or arranged transport, don't walk along the A9. Instead continue to follow the aqueduct under the A9 to where it meets a weir just south of Dalwhinnie. A cycle track can then be followed from there to Balsporran and back to Drumochter Pass.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Weather forecasts & webcams »

Guided hillwalking events in this area »

Route photos

Heading up A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, looking back to A9 and Loch GarryHeading up A'Bhuidheanach Bheag, looking back to A9 and Loch Garry
Nearing A'Bhuidheanach Bheag's summit, Ben Alder behindNearing A'Bhuidheanach Bheag's summit, Ben Alder behind
Descending A'Bhuidheanach Bheag on way to Carn na CaimDescending A'Bhuidheanach Bheag on way to Carn na Caim
Meall Chuaich from Carn na Caim's summitMeall Chuaich from Carn na Caim's summit
Gate east of Carn na CaimGate east of Carn na Caim
Meall Chuaich from the damMeall Chuaich from the dam

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