Two Cairngorm Munros

By Colin Hogarth

The neighbouring Munros of Mullach Clach a'Bhlair and Sgor Gaoith may sit happily side by side, but their characters contrast sharply. While the first is an unremarkable lump rising rather meekly from a vast and, some might say, dull plateau of heather and grass, the second has one of the most stomach-churning drops you'll come across in this part of the country. For while Sgor Gaoith boasts an easy, stress-free ascent from the south, its east face plunges straight down over jagged rocks and sharp scree, prompting many a mountain man or woman to draw a sharp breath as they peer into the void below.

This walk can be done either in a full day, or broken up over an evening and a day using the MBA bothy at Ruigh-aiteachain as an overnight stop and base camp.

The route begins at a small parking area by Achlean Farm in Glen Feshie and follows a path alongside the River Feshie south towards the bothy. About two miles from the start, the path converges on a track crosses the river on an old wooden bridge. Don't go over the water, but follow the track left and, a short way on, almost hidden in Scots Pine, is the bothy.

Inside you'll find two rooms on the ground floor and a sleeping area upstairs. A small stream on the bank behind the bothy provides fresh running water and there's a basic, French-style, toilet in a stone-built block nearby. There is also plenty of space to pitch a tent within the vicinity of the cottage.

To reach the tops, take a well made track, the start of which is located a short way north of the bothy. It climbs alongside the Allt Coire Chaoil and the walker will soon find they have embarked upon a long, grinding ascent. On a positive note, it gains much of the height needed early in the day.

Towards the top, the track skirts above some impressive cliffs, falling away into Coire Garbhlach below. A short way on from here, the way flattens out a little and forks into two as it emerges on to a wide, open plateau.

Take the right-hand option and walk for about half a mile, then, leave the track and make the short detour to the summit of Mullach Clach a'Bhlair (1019 metres), your first Munro of the day.

Return to the track and re-trace your steps to the junction. This time, take the other track and follow it to the spot height at 953 metres. Continue from there to a junction where a path branches off on the left, leading to Carn Ban Mor, an outlying top of Sgor Gaoith, which lies a further mile north along this. The ascent is fairly gentle and you are soon on the summit (1118 metres). The top sits right on the edge of cliffs that drop straight down to Loch Einich. There is a fall of around 600 metres over steep, craggy outcrops and scree, so don't go too close to the edge and take great care in poor visibility.

To head home, retrace your steps over Carn Ban Mor to the path and follow this west down the Allt Fhearnagan glen to Achlean. Alternatively follow the route of ascent back to the bothy.


Distance 15 miles/25km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 43.
Start/parking Achlean, Glen Feshie (grid ref NN 853975).
Grading Two relatively easy Munros with track and path throughout.