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.

Drumochter 4 from Dalwhinnie

Drumochter 4 from Dalwhinnie

Postby Amoveritas » Sat Jul 29, 2023 9:15 pm

Route description: Beinn Udlamain and Sgàirneach Mhòr

Munros included on this walk: A' Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain, Geal-chàrn (Drumochter), Sgàirneach Mhòr

Date walked: 26/07/2023

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 32 km

Ascent: 1135m

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Ok, so Wednesday of this week was forecast to be sunny for most of the day unlike the forecast for the next two weeks and therefore it was an ideal opportunity to get out into the hills again.

So, with kit packed and raring to go I was out the door in time to catch the Edinburgh coach to Dalwhinnie. Its a pleasant enough journey but its sad to wave goodbye to Balsporran Cottages as the coach saunters on to its scheduled stop at the end of the Dalwhinnie road. Most walkers would park the car at the cottages so in order to complete this round I had an extra 8km or 5 miles to add to the standard route. The return coach arrives just short of 7 and a half hours so I will have to work reasonably hard in order to make the rendezvous, otherwise I will be forking out for overnight accommodation in Dalwhinnie. Am I bothered? Yes hahaha.

So around 0950 on Wednesday 26th July 2023 I was hoofing it along the tarmac path in the direction of Balsporran Cottages. Now after lots of red meat over the past days my tummy was a rumbling and I stopped a couple of times but nothing was moving, (Too much information I know), and I realised that my innards were going to be sealed for the journey.

By 1030 I was passing the cottages and heading into the hillside. Call me daft but on every occassion I have passed this way, I have crossed the railway tracks and taken the first path heading directly west, leaving the main path earlier than intended, and as usual, after approximately 1km I realise my error and pretty much head South over the heather for half a km or so to re-join the path that I should have waited for in the first place. Mind you the path up to Geal charn at this point is much smaller than I remember. Not to worry. I am now in top gear and racing up the hillside. In no time my heart beat was up to 160 and I was making good progress.

I only have approximately 1.5km ascending 300m to reach the summit and it doesn't take long.

Geal charn to A'Mharconaich is only 2km as the crow flies and maybe 3km due to descent and ascent but its pretty easy to be honest. These rolling hills offer a different challenge to steaper and rokier munros but can be challenging all the same dependant upon your fitness. The descent from Geal charn is rocky and untidy so I didnt feel comfortable running and strode out enjoying the sunshine as I progressed. Its also good to note that rolling hills can offer more of a navigational challenge as the way ahead is not as straightforward as something like a ridge walk and a moments lack of concentration can have you scurrying in the wrong direction.

A'Marconaich to Beinn Udlamain is a pretty gentle walk of approx. 3.3km with a descent of only 150m approximately and an ascent of 150m. A gentle jog is sufficient here to enjoy the descent and marvel at the expanse in front of you. There are clear views all around but not being proficient at photography I could only click an snap as I saw in the hope that I would be rewarded with descent enough photos. The expanse of these hills is best view in 3d on route rather than on 2d photographs in my view.

Beinn Udlamain to Sgairneach Mhor, the 4th Munro, is approximately 4km dropping maybe 230m and ascending 230m. The ascents and the descents again are not particularly big but just looking across at the expanse of terrain heading up to Sgairnead Mhor was quite impressive. So with head down and now sunglasses on to keep the wind out of my eyes I pushed on. Arriving at the summit in good time I decided to stop and have some lunch. So after approximately 20 minutes I head of on my way. I still have 6km to descend to the main road and then 8km walk back to Dalwhinnie. Checking the time, I know I have enough time but I always worry, I now have 2 and a half hours left in order to catch the coach.

The route is clear enough and I set of around the corrie. I notice the path seems to head up over the spot height or towards the Sow of Atholl so thinking I knew better I decided to head directly downhill heading North over virgin heather for 2km in order to cross the Allt Choire Dhomhain (Burn/stream) and join the path out the glen. These beautiful flat mountain hillsides are actually nothing of the sort hahaha and it was a tense but enjoyable undulating descent. Once I crossed the burn I was looking forward to a runnable path but instead an almost 3km track that had bigger undulations than nessies back. I was cursing the track builder for having no consideration for the poor tired bagger heading out the hillside. There is what looks like a new track heading up the glen below the Sow of Atholl so maybe I should have headed out on the obvious path on high, live but not learn lol.

Ok, so back safely on the main road with 8km to get back to Dalwhinnie. I pushed the first 4km to get back to Balsporran Cottages and arrived at the car park at 1535. That made my trip from the car park and back at 5hrs and 35 min for the round. Now that was satisfying. My fitness is reasonable so happy with that. I can now saunter along to Dalwhinnie and get a good wash in the river before the coach arrives.

Another enjoyable 20 mile excursion into the hillside.

Re: Drumochter 4 from Dalwhinnie

Postby Grisu » Thu Aug 03, 2023 4:48 pm

Thanks for this report.
I did this round the day before (but not running 8) ) and wrote to friend that this must be a nice one for fell runners :D
I'll send him the link of your report.
User avatar
Posts: 536
Munros:100   Corbetts:3
Joined: Mar 13, 2017
Location: Norden, Germany

Re: Drumochter 4 from Dalwhinnie

Postby Pken84 » Sun May 12, 2024 2:10 pm

No need for me to write a walk report as it would be almost identical to this, including coming off the fourth summit through the heathers. Doesn’t sound like you got a foot soaking crossing the burn though!

I came from the train in the morning and bus home - not doing the last few km to the train station was bliss after a 40km day!
Posts: 9
Joined: Jul 17, 2020

4 people think this report is great.
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: Munrosnmusic and 78 guests