Meall a'Bhuachaille traverse and hill race

Tour of Meall a' Bhuachaille

Meall a' Bhuachaille hill race route from Badaguish

Hiking a traverse of the ridge from Meall a' Bhuachaille to Craiggowrie takes in a few tops following a worn path. The Meall a'Bhuachaille hill race follows much of this route, with one annoying little detour !

Route outline


Meall a' Bhuachaille

Ascent 700m (2290ft)
Distance 13km (8m)
Time 4:30hr
Start/finish Badaguish Outdoor Centre
Grid Ref : NH956114
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In the forests of Glenmore below Meall a' Bhuachaille and Craiggowrie, a network of estate tracks encircle Badaguish Outdoor Centre. Above, a constructed path leads up onto the hill crests and to Meall a' Bhuachaille's summit. Terrain north-west from Meall a' Bhuachaille over Creagan Gorm to Craiggowrie is rougher and will most likely be damp and soggy - persist and you'll be rewarded as the descent back into the forests is a hill-runner's delight !

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Badaguish



At the southern end of Aviemore, there's a small roundabout. The road heading east, signposted as the B970 to Coylumbridge and Glenmore, travels out of the town and heads towards Loch Morlich and eventually Cairngorm Mountain Resort.

Around 6km along this road and before reaching Loch Morlich, a narrow entrance to Badaguish is marked off left. Head up the narrow road beyond this (speed limit 25m) for just over 1km to reach a small roundabout. There's parking by a café, with an overspill parking area on the opposite side of the roundabout.

2. Meall a'Bhuachaille

Meall a' Bhuachaille from Badaguish

Meall a' Bhuachaille from Badaguish

From the little roundabout, a forestry track heads south-east, past a barrier and out of woodland. Follow this track as it turns east then comes to a junction . Take the northern spur and follow a track north-east back into forestry. This track turns south-east and after 3km after leaving Badaguish, comes to an abrupt end by the Allt na Doire. It's unlikely that this burn will be uncrossable, but if it is, there's a bridge a few metres upstream.

Once onto the southern side of the Allt na Doire, pick up a path heading directly uphill. Although the path was well-constructed and improved in recent years, natural and boot erosion have taken their toll.

The path climbs at a fairly gentle incline and tops out just above the bealach between Meall a' Bhuachaille and Creagan Gorm, where the path splits.

Take the right fork and follow the path for a climb of just over 150m to Meall a' Bhuachaille's summit . There's a large cairn to shelter out of winds and the vistas from here are stunning and vast, giving probably one of the finest views to Cairngorm.

3. Creagan Gorm, Creag a' Chaillich and Craiggowrie

Creagan Gorm from Meall a' Bhuachaille

Creagan Gorm from Meall a' Bhuachaille

About turn and return down the path to the bealach , then take the path heading west along the crest. The path quickly heads into marshy ground and at this point the race route takes a detour by heading south-west for a spur south of Creagan Gorm.

The path on the crest climbs directly to Creagan Gorm . The race-route also does, but via a faint trod through heather. Both routes converge by the large cairn on this minor summit, from where there's a fine view back to Meall a' Bhuachaille.

Progressing north-west along the crest of the hills, terrain is a mix of rocky worn path and soggy marsh.

Having passed a large erratic boulder , the route travels over the minor top of Creag a' Chaillich , drops a bit, then turns north for a the final damp climb up to Craiggowrie . The path actually bypasses this summit, therefore a small detour over rocky ground is needed to touch the small cairn.

4. Return to Badaguish

Descent from Craiggowrie

Descent from Craiggowrie

The path bypasses Craiggowrie's summit on its west side, heads north for a few paces, then turns north-west to begin its descent. Rough rocky ground at first and a little rise, before the descent begins proper.

The path downhill is worn and through peat - very fast if conditions are dry, very slippy if wet !

Having dropped around 200m, the path meets with some forestry and joins a more obvious path . Another 500m further and this path meets with a track . Turn left and follow the track along a flat gradient for around 500m, then enjoy a gentle (and fast if you're racing) descent back to Badaguish.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Meall a' Bhuachaille from Glenmore

A lovely walk through Scots Pine woodlands and past the 'Green Lochan', leads to lonely little Ryvoan Bothy, from where a direct ascent of Meall a' Bhuachaille is made via a decent path.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 550m (1800ft)
Distance : 9km (6m)
Time : 3:15hr

Bynack More and Creag Mhor from Glenmore

Bynack More is a very accessible mountain with weird granite tors sitting at the north-eastern edge of the Cairngorms. The Corbett peak of Creag Mhor is a short distance away and the much of the route from Glenmore to access these hills can be done on bike !

Peaks : 1 Munro, 1 Corbett

Ascent : 860m (2820ft)
Distance : 22km (14m)
Time : 5:30hr

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.

Peaks : 2 Munros

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

Geal Charn from Dorback

Above the Braes of Abernethy, fine estate tracks lead from Dorback Lodge to the foot of Geal Charn, from where a delightful circular route makes for an enjoyable afternoon's walk or run.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 600m (1970ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 5:45hr


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