Carn Dearg from the east

Monadhliath Munros

Hill walking route taking in all four Munros in the Monadhliath

The rolling landscape that makes Monadh Liath range is vast and, as no roads penetrate into the area, 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.

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
Munros Carn Dearg
Carn Sgulain
A' Chailleach
Geal Charn
Ascent 1420m (4650ft)
Distance 30km (19m)
Time 9:50hr
Start Glen Road, Newtonmore
Grid Ref : NN694998
Finish Garva Bridge
Grid Ref : NN521948
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

The route starts from just above Newtonmore, where Glen Banchor leads to the foothills of the Monadh Liath. Ruins of deserted townships are dotted around this beautiful glen.

Tracks lower down access the grass and heather clad slopes. Higher up the vast plateaux are places to get easily lost in, but lines of fence-posts with faint paths can be traced. From Carn Dearg to Geal Charn there are no posts to follow and good navigation skills will be needed. As the route starts at Newtonmore and finishes at Garva Bridge - some 24km apart, arranging transport is advisable.

The Monadh Liath feels wild and remote and there's a good chance you might see wildlife, possibly a golden eagle if you're lucky !

Route detail

Getting to the start in Glen Banchor »
  • Half way along Newtonmore's main street, there is the Letterbox Restaurant. This sit on the corner of the entrance to Glen Road, which heads up towards Glen Banchor. Head up this to the road end, which terminates at a bridge just after a rough car-park which has room for around 10 cars.
  • This linear route finishes at Garva Bridge, which is around 24 km west of Newtonmore, therefore you'll need to organise some kind of transport between start and end points!

A'Chailleach »
  • 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!

Carn Sgulain »
  • From A'Chailleach's summit, aim due north, on a faint path at first.
  • The path disappears as the ground drops more quickly down to a burn (the Allt Cuil na Caillich).
  • Cross this burn and continue north over 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 cairn met is on the highest point).

Carn Dearg »
  • About turn. Without the fence-posts, navigation from here would be difficult even in clear conditions as the view in all directions consists of gradual undulating sweeps, making summits difficult to determine.
  • Retrace your steps, then continue on grassy ground following worn path and fence-posts over the minor summits of Meall a'Bhothain and Meall na Creughaich to Carn Ballach. The terrain gets a bit rougher for the last 1km to Carn Ban (a demoted Munro).
  • From Carn Ban's cairn, leave the fence-posts and drop southwards to a bealach with a small lochan (not marked on the OS maps).
  • Turn south-east up the shoulder ahead and around a short corrie to the narrow summit of Carn Dearg with its small cairn. This is the most distinctive peak in the Monadh Liath and possibly the finest viewpoint.

Geal Charn »
  • Return to bealach , then turn west-north-west and pick up the line of fence-posts again .
  • Follow fence-posts south-west past a cairn and lochan, the posts then turn north-west and start going downhill. Continue downhill, then uphill following the posts over Beinn Odhair
  • Near the south-western end of Beinn Odhar, the posts turn north-west towards Carn Odhair na Criche, do not follow these ! Instead continue west over grass to cross the Allt Odhar - there are no more paths or posts to follow until near Geal Charn.
  • Some challenging navigational work, even in clear conditions will be required for the next 4km in a general southwest direction. The terrain is easy underfoot, but only occasional wildlife will lighten an otherwise dreary section of this hike.
  • Upon reaching some peat hags and a gradual incline indicates the final ascent of the day up Geal Charn. On the way, another line of fence-posts is met.
  • Follow these posts and a developing path towards Geal Charn's large summit cairn . The views from this top are suprisingly quite good !

Down to Garva Bridge and return »
  • From the summit head south-west over bouldery ground and a slight rise then pick up a path going downhill.
  • The path travels through heather then over increasingly damp ground to reach the Allt Coire nan Dearcag , which will need crossed at some point and will be difficult to do so lower down if in spate.
  • The burn Feith Talagain is met and a path can be traced following the southern bank of this.
  • With so much wet ground around here, the path disappears, just continue heading south-west to pick up a track to a substantial bridge (put in for the construction of the pylons).
  • Cross the bridge and Garva Bridge is less than a half a km further on.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Weather forecasts & webcams »

Guided hillwalking events in this area »

Route photos

An Leithir HutAn Leithir Hut
A'Chailleach from An Leithir HutA'Chailleach from An Leithir Hut
Looking from A'Chailleach to Carn SgulainLooking from A'Chailleach to Carn Sgulain
The route west of Carn Sgulain following fence-postsThe route west of Carn Sgulain following fence-posts
Geal Charn from above Garva BridgeGeal Charn from above Garva Bridge
Allt Coire nan Dearcag in spateAllt Coire nan Dearcag in spate

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