Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Beinn Bhrotain & Monadh Mòr, return by Loch Stuirteag

Beinn Bhrotain & Monadh Mòr, return by Loch Stuirteag

Postby djarvie » Mon Sep 19, 2022 5:58 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhrotain, Monadh Mòr

Date walked: 17/09/2022

Time taken: 10.4 hours

Distance: 37 km

Ascent: 1200m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Bhrotain-2022-09-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

The forecast was for low cloud first thing, lifting above the tops by the afternoon. So setting off from Linn of Dee at 10.30 seemed the ideal timing. If only ...

The cycle to White Bridge went fine.
View up River Dee from White Bridge

After that, it was a stony path along the Dee with lots of drainage channels. Even though my bike is a hybrid rather than a mountain bike, it seemed worth cycling slowly up the path to Allt Iarnaidh for the benefit of resting my feet later after the walk.
Carn Fiaclach (left) and Càrn Cloich-mhuilinn (far left), seen from just before Allt Iarnaidh

Then, boots on, it was quite an easy climb most of the way past Carn Fiaclach. The only point to note was that I managed to fork left instead of right somewhere quite early in the climb, which may have crossed slightly more boggy ground. Then a steeper slope brought me up to the top of Càrn Cloich-mhuilinn, and into the cold wind - fleece needed now!
View south east from Càrn Cloich-mhuilinn summit

Beinn Bhrotain from Càrn Cloich-mhuilinn

The descent from Càrn Cloich-mhuilinn, after initially crossing boulders, is down a visible path. At the bottom, this disappears when it hits bogs. There are quite a few stones among the bog, so it isn't too difficult to avoid sinking into the wet ground. I didn't see any path up the other side until I chanced upon one when at least half way up the shoulder. After that the slope eased off and it wasn't too far to the summit of Beinn Bhrotain. Unfortunately, even though it was now 2pm, the clouds were still low and although some hills to the south could be seen, the Cairngorms were still shrouded. Very disappointing. The wind by now was stronger, and cold, so the stone shelter was very welcome to sit and eat a sandwich.
Beinn Bhrotain summit

The next hill, Monadh Mòr, was now not too far away on the other side of a big dip.
Monadh Mòr from Beinn Bhrotain

The top 100 metres of altitude on Beinn Bhrotain is boulders; once down past them, a path appeared which led down to the col above Coire Cath nam Fionn, and then up to the plateau of Monadh Mòr.
Devil's Point in the mist, seen from start of climb up Monadh Mòr

This was pretty flat and easy going to the summit at the far end, where the clouds prevented any view from the top.
Monadh Mòr summit, with excellent view of cloud

I wanted to see Loch nan Stuirteag and Glen Geusachan, so after the summit continued on north. When I glimpsed the loch through the clouds, I headed down towards it, but the going was very slow since it was pretty steep first over boulders and then over bogs and wet areas.
First glimpse of Loch an Stuirteag seen from top of shoulder

Part way down, a close packed flock of birds flew over the loch - I'm not sure what they were, but they didn't look like the black headed gulls which the loch is named after.
Loch an Stuirteag

After finally reaching the bottom, I could see that I could have avoided a lot of the boulders by dropping down earlier, where grass reached higher up. Then after crossing more bogs, I arrived above the Geusachan Burn where there was a path. It was worth going that way to experience the atmosphere of the glen, even under the low cloud. The burn falling down from the direction of Cairn Toul was quite picturesque, and the glen descending between the steep sides of Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir and Monadh Mòr, with Beinn Bhrotain forming the backdrop where it bent west out of sight, felt very remote.
Allt Clais an t-Saibhail, on its way from Cairn Toul

By 4.30pm, the cloud was finally lifting.
Glen Geusachan with Beinn Bhrotain at the bend

Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mòr, with Coire Cath nam Fionn between

The path down frequently hit boggy sections which needed to be skirted round, which slowed the walk. After rounding the bend, Devil's Point came into view. It was an impressive sight, its steep shiny slabs forming one flank of the glen, and Beinn Bhrotain's steep slabs forming the other, with the Dee and the wall of Carn a' Mhaim in the distance at the end.
Devil's Point, with Carn a' Mhaim behind

Beinn Bhrotain's shoulder

Eventually the path came to the confluence of the burn and the Dee.
Devil's Point doing sentry duty at the mouth of the Lairig Ghru

River Dee and Carn a' Mhaim, with Ben Macdui behind hidden under low cloud

Then, after another mile of intermittent bogs, the path transformed into a partially maintained highway (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration) which provided much easier walking back to the bike. By this time, the light was dimming, and I needed my head torch by the time I reached the track at White Bridge.

From the summit of Monadh Mòr, the return down Glen Geusachan back to the bike took me marginally longer than the outward walk from the bike up to Monadh Mòr. The timings given in the SMC Munros book seem a bit optimistic for that route - it reckons 40 minutes less for the return than for the outward walk (as compared to 1 hour less for the direct route back). Maybe a more agile boulder bounder and bog hopper could manage that, but not this one.
Mountain Walker
Posts: 18
Munros:90   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Jan 16, 2022
Location: Aberdeen

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Can you help support Walkhighlands?

Our forum is free from adverts - your generosity keeps it running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and this community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 98 guests