Walk: Mighty Macdui & the Big Grey Man

Aberdeenshire | Cairngorm Plateau | Full day walk | ★★★★

[Ben Macdui from the Carn a' Mhaim ridge]

It's a long way to Ben Macdui from Deeside, but this is a journey worth every step. It's also a long way up despite the high start height: Ben Macdui is the UK's second highest summit after Ben Nevis, and a much more serious affair. And it's haunted, with a ghostly apparition known as the Grey Man known to patrol the summit plateau. On a wild day when the cloud is down... well, you never know. Like many expeditions into the Cairngorms interior, this is a circuit involving a long albeit scenic approach along valley floor tracks (and another at the end of the day). But in addition there's one of the best narrow ridges in the Cairngorms, a trio of Munro summits to enjoy, and a magnificent high mountain feel on the northeastern slopes of Ben Macdui overlooking Loch Etchachan.

[The Devil's Point looks awesome across the Lairig Ghru from the ascent to Ben Macdui]

📌 Walk: Mighty Macdui & the Big Grey Man ★★★★
Start / finish at car park (charge) on minor road at Linn of Dee, 6 mi west of Braemar, G.R.: NO 063898 ///conjured.materials.strong

▶ 32 km / 20 mi | ▲ 1320 m | ⌚ Full day | Very tough
Summits: Carn a' Mhaim (1037 m, Munro); Ben Macdui (1309 m, Munro); Derry Cairngorm (1155 m, Munro) | Features: Linn of Dee
Terrain: Excellent paths and tracks in the glens although stretch beyond Derry Lodge can get boggy. Steep ascent to Carn a' Mhaim on clear path. Path becomes rougher and eventually fades to nothing on the higher slopes of Ben Macdui before reappearing for final stretch. Initially good path north-east of Ben Macdui, then intermittent to Derry Cairngorm which has a long boulderfield before the path improves beyond.

Route & map

Car park - detour to Linn of Dee - Lui falls & salmon ladder - Derry Lodge - Luibeg Bridge - leave glen path at G.R.: NO 010939 - Carn a' Mhaim - 1249 metre spot height on Ben Macdui - Ben Macdui - 1053 metre spot height short of Creagan a' Choire Etchachan - Derry Cairngorm - Carn Crom - Derry Lodge - start


Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: Unexpected frog right at the top of Carn a' Mhaim, ptarmigan on Ben Macdui.
Weather: Mostly cloudy but some brighter spells, light winds and temperature just into double figures. Large snow patches remaining on the plateau.

[View north along Ben Macdui's eastern cliffs to the Barns of Beinn Mheadhoin]

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