A'Chailleach and Carn Sgulain

Eastern Monadhliath Munros

Hiking route up A'Chailleach and Carn Sgulain from Glen Banchor

Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach are the most easterly Munros in the vast Monadh Liath with most hillwalkers combining them into one route starting from Glen Banchor above Newtonmore. The hillsides are gentle and if the mist comes in, your navigation skills will be tested.

Route outline


A' Chailleach, 

Carn Sgulain

Ascent 750m (2460ft)
Distance 14km (9m)
Time 4:45hr
Start/finish Glen Road, Newtonmore
Grid Ref : NN694998
easy hard
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This circular route starts and finishes from just above Newtonmore, where Glen Banchor leads to the foothills of the Monadh Liath.

Tracks lower down give access cutting though grass and heather clad slopes. Higher up the vast plateau of the eastern Monadh Liath can be fairly featureless, but lines of fence-posts and faint deer-trods can be traced to aid navigation skills.

Keep eyes peeled as you're sure to spot wildlife - last time I was here a golden eagle soared above me !

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Banchor

An Leithir Hut and Creag Dhubh

An Leithir Hut and Creag Dhubh

The route start just a few miles outside Newtonmore at the end of the public road heading into Glen Banchor. To get there, from half way along Newtonmore's main street, by the Letterbox Restaurant, there is the entrance to Glen Road. This narrow road twists uphill past several houses into open moorland. Continuing for another mile or so to the road end, which terminates at a bridge just after a rough car-park which has room for around 10 cars.

2. A'Chailleach

Approaching A'Chailleach's summit

Approaching A'Chailleach's summit

Immediately before this car-park, there is a track heading up the side of foresty. Follow this track, through gate for just over 1km.

At a sharp turning in the track, there is a path off left (this may be indicated by a small cairn, tho it wasn't on our last visit).The path leads down to a bridge crossing the burn hidden in the heather below.

Over the bridge, follow a faint path over wet and grassy ground heading northwards and travelling parallel to the burn.The path begins to turn, then head uphill to cross a minor burn.

Further on and in a hollow, An Leitir hut is met - carvings on wood inside are over 100 years old!

Follow a faint path uphill from behind the hut, getting more obvious as it ascends.

The path levels off in heather and peat before a last direct haul to the summit of A'Chailleach . A large cairn on the top provides shelter out of wind!

3. Carn Sgulain

Heading to Carn Sgulain

Heading to Carn Sgulain

From A'Chailleach's summit, aim due north, on a faint path at first. The path disappears as the ground drops progressively more steeply down to a burn (the Allt Cuil na Caillich).

Cross this burn and continue north over rough, wet and peaty ground until a line of fence-posts is reached.

Turn right (east) and follow fence-posts for less than half a kilometre to Carn Sgulain's small untidy cairns - the first of these two cairns marks the highest point.

4. Return to Glen Banchor

Returning to Glen Banchor

Returning to Glen Banchor

From Carn Sgulain's summit cairn, head north-east to the other cairn, then continue for a further 200m or so.

Turn south-east and hike over grassy ground towards Am Bodach, losing height. I went around Am Bodach to minimise ascent, avoiding the steep rocky ground at its south-west end.Beyond, lose some more height (never too steeply) and pick up faint trods to meet up with an estate track .

Follow the estate track for around 2km until it does an obvious turn south-east .Leave the track and head south on a trod, cutting through bracken. Cross a burn (the Allt na Feith Buidhe, there is a bridge at NH706010 ), then pick up ATV tracks and then a track to follow back to the roadside around 1km east of the start point.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Monadhliath Munros

The rolling landscape of the Monadh Liath is vast and feels very remote and wild. There are four Munros hiding in the expanse, all of which can be bagged in one linear route taking in A'Chailleach, Carn Sgulain and Carn Dearg in quick succession following fence-lines, then Geal Charn challenging navigation skills over featureless terrain.

Peaks : 4 Munros

Ascent : 1420m (4660ft)
Distance : 30km (19m)
Time : 9:50hr

Carn Dearg in the Monadhliath

Carn Dearg is one of the more interesting hills in the vast Monadh Liath moorland north of Strathspey. Although it can be bagged with other Monadh Liath Munros in a longer outing, walking it on its own from Glen Banchor you will experience more of its interesting features along with discovering shades of previous habitations in the glens.

Peaks : 1 Munro

Ascent : 770m (2530ft)
Distance : 18km (11m)
Time : 5:50hr

Geal Charn from Spey Dam

Geal Charn is a mountain at the western end of the Monadh Liath and for the most part typical of the area - rolling, gentle, grass covered slopes and fairly featureless from most views. But there are hidden sides to this Munro and weird landforms create interest if you're prepared not just to take the most direct route !

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 740m (2430ft)
Distance : 15km (9m)
Time : 4:45hr

Carn an Fhreiceadain from Kingussie

The flat-topped summit of Carn an Fhreiceadain overlooks Kingussie, from where fine estate tracks head up onto the plateau making for a uncomplicated circular hillwalking route.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 680m (2230ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 5hr


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