M40 | 1113 m. | 3652 ft.
Translation: Big hill
Pronuncation: monagh moar

There is something special about the first ten or fifteen kilometres of the valley of the River Dee. First of all itís the magnificent setting of the Cairngorm Mountains with its great summits of Carn á Mhaim, Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Cairn Toul and The Devil’s Point enclosing the nascent river with their bulky shapes. But then it’s also the river itself as it makes its way towards Braemar and beyond over waterslides and down waterfalls that add to the remote and beautiful feeling of the place.

Today, fortunately, we could see all this. The day before when we had walked the path on the left bank of the river in our vain attempt to get to the mountains we had done so in driving snow and with hardly any visibility at all. We had hiked up the glen for about two hours, had reconsidered and then retreated to the Linn of Dee and our car. Now, with the sun shining on us, we again left our bicycles at White Bridge and hiked the path on the left bank of the River Dee towards Corrour Bothy. Progress was easy at first, Frank taking a wee bit of time for photographs. About opposite of Glen Geusachan the going got bad. The snow was very wet and with the terrain becoming flatter and the path a little less defined we had to wade through slush and spongy terrain. Progress got slower but with curses hissed from between our teeth from time to time we finally made it to the footbridge over the Dee and to the hut. This had taken us almost three hours. We rested on the dry grass in front of the hut and soaked in the views as well as the brilliant sunshine!

From there it was an exhausting but very beautiful slog up into Core Odhar which was filled with snow. The white stuff was one to two feet deep and trackless terrain was the order of the next half hour or so. Then we picked up the path zigzagging up the headwall of the corrie which finally deposited us on the plateau. From there it was only 15 minutes to the summit of the Devil’s Point where we took a long break. Man, this was great. The glens and hills covered in snow, the sun shining and blue skies above. You don’t get better days in Scotland! It was a great privilege to experience such a beautiful day. In August 1999 Alex and I had summited the same peak during a total solar eclipse barely visible under an overcast sky. The atmosphere had been gloomy and eerie then. Today it was cheerful and energizing!

One could have stayed for hours but we did not linger longer than 20 minutes since two more Munroe were on our menu of the day. So, having shouldered our rucksacks we continued high above Glen Geusachan crossing the Buidheanach of Cairntoul towards Loch nan Stuirteag. The going was good with only the occasional old snow field interrupting the hike on the pleasant grass of the plateau. South of Sgor an Lochain Uaine the going got worse since we had to traverse steep slopes covered partly in old and partly in fresh slushy snow. But we made it to the loch alright. There followed a squishy wading experience around the north shore of this high-altitude loch and an immediate ascent of steep snow fields leading to the more level terrain higher up. The very broad ridge delivered us at the summit of Monadh Mor. Close to the summit we rested a bit on a very conveniently placed rock and then touched the cairn of this Munro No. 2 in passing.

Across the very flat plateau we headed in a southeasterly direction towards the last summit, Beinn Bhrotain two miles further along the ridge. However, a sheepish descent (by Cairngorm standard) to the 975m beallach between the two hills and a stiff stony re-ascent to Beinn Bhrotain’s summit had to be completed before Munro No. 3 was in our bag. We did this in more or less good form – Frank like a mountain goat, I more at the speed of highland cattle! Anyway we made it. From this spacious summit covered in  if I remember correctly red stone equally spacious views of the Forrest of Mar opened up.

Again, the day being late already, we did not stay too long but continued down the broad southeast ridge of the Beinn past Aghaidh Gharbh, over Carn Cloich-mhuilinn, Carn Fiaclach and past Carn Fiaclach Beag to the path on the right bank of the River Dee. Yes the way down the hill was easy on snow, grass and heather but as you can see from the enumeration of intermediate knolls it took us quite some time to reach the river. Then it was another three kilometres to our bikes at White Bridge and another fifteen minutes to the Linn of Dee where we reached our car about twelve hours after having set out in the morning.

This was easily the most challenging and most rewarding hike of our May 2013 “campaign”. A tour to cherish in your memory and to dream of on a cold winter’s evening with a glass of whisky in your hand. Thanks Alba!

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Total distance: 39793 m
Max elevation: 1136 m
Min elevation: 289 m
Total climbing: 1529 m
Total descent: -1472 m
Total Time: 11:22:01

Description These two remote rounded mountains are the south-eastern extension of the Braeriach - Cairn Toul plateau, separated from it by the deep trench of Glen Geusachan and from the Glen Feshie hills by the River Eidart. The most impressive features of these mountains are the steep slabby cliffs overlooking Glen Geusachan which form an almost continuous rampart and prevent any easy ascent from that glen. On their south and west sides, however, long easy slopes drop down to the Geldie Burn and the River Eidart .Two approaches are possible. The one from Linn of Dee along the River Dee is very long, although it is possible to use a bicycle at least as far as White Bridge. The alternative route from Achlean in Glen Feshie across the high plateau of the Moine Mhor is considerably shorter and in good weather and underfoot conditions the going is easy all the way, but in bad visibility it will be a test of navigation skill. For the Linn of Dee route, follow the rough road to White Bridge and a further 3 kilometres up the south side of the river. Then climb west over the top of Carn Cloich-mhuilinn and north-west to Beinn Bhrotain. Descend north-west to the col at the head of Coire Cath nam Fionn and climb to the flat summit of Monadh Mor. The quickest return is by the same route, possibly with a slight diversion to avoid the re-ascent of Beinn Bhrotain.The other route starts at Achlean in Glen Feshie and follows the path up Coire Fhearnagan, passing south of Carn Ban Mor to descend across the Moine Mhor to Lochan nan Cnapan, from where it is an easy climb south-east to Monadh Mor. From there continue to Beinn Bhrotain and return by the same way.