Walk: Beinn a' Bhuird & Ben Avon - Cairngorms marathon

Aberdeenshire | Braemar | Full day walk | ★★★★★

[View over The Sneck to Beinn a' Bhuird from the ascent to Ben Avon]

The formidable hulks of Beinn a' Bhuird and Ben Avon comprise some of the highest and most inhospitable ground in the country. Both are extensive and remote plateaus: the former fringed by dramatic cliffs, the latter capped with a cluster of rocky tors. Both can be tackled in a single, epic day by one of the most memorable walks in the Cairngorms. At a monstrous 37 km in distance, this is a serious undertaking, passing through terrain miles from the nearest road. On a summer day in good conditions however, long daylight hours make the circuit feasible for experienced walkers, with wonderfully varied terrain keeping interest going as the legs inevitably tire. Just one highlight of the journey is that it passes the "Hidden Bothies": possibly as many as three separate shelters blending into the hillside around the intimate upper part of Gleann an t-Slugain. They're not marked on maps (and shouldn't be confused with the more substantial ruin of Slugain Lodge) and are in fact so well hidden that we couldn't find any of them. If you do manage to stumble upon it, let us know!

[Beinn a' Bhuird (29/4/12)]

📌 Walk: Beinn a' Bhuird & Ben Avon - Cairngorms marathon ★★★★★
Start / finish at car park for Linn of Quoich, end of minor road, 2 mi (as the crow flies) west of Braemar, G.R.: NO 117910 ///stowing.finest.version

▶ 37 km / 23 mi | ▲ 1150 m | ⌚ Full day | Very tough
Summits: Beinn a' Bhuird (1197 m, Munro), Cnap a' Chleirich (1172 m), Ben Avon (1171 m, Munro) | Features: Linn of Quoich; Hidden Bothy; Invercauld Monument
Terrain: Good tracks make for quick progress through Glen Quoich, then an excellent path - intermittent on the rocky plateau. Descent into and ascent out of The Sneck is steep and a bit loose. Good paths for remainder, becoming a track again in Gleann an t-Slugain. Fording Allt an Dubh-ghlinne is impossible in spate.

Route & map

Car park - east bank of Quoich Water - cross back at Linn of Quoich - Glen Quoich - ford Allt an Dubh-ghlinne at G.R.: NO 080947 - An Diollaid - cliffs above Coire an Dubh-lochain - Beinn a' Bhuird north top - Cnap a' Chleirich - The Sneck - Ben Avon - return to The Sneck - Clach a' Cleirich - Gleann an t-Slugain & Hidden Bothy - Balnagower Cottage & Invercauld Monument - start


Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: Ptarmigan with several chicks on Beinn a' Bhuird, as well as an inquisitive snow bunting.
Weather: Often sunny although with thunder clouds threatening on Beinn a' Bhuird. A bit windy on the plateau, but hot in the glens on return. One or two remaining snow patches in the sheltered coires.

[The ruins of Slugain Lodge, not far from the Hidden Bothy...]

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