M13 | 1182 m. | 3878 ft.
Translation: Middle hill
Pronuncation: byn vee-an

The last day of our 2013 Munro bagging campaign in the Cairngorms saw us cycling from the parking at the Linn of Dee to Derry Lodge. There we crossed the Derry Burn and continued along the path on the right bank of the tumbling waters for a further few hundred metres. When the going got too tiresome (for me at least) we left our bikes at a large tree trunk and carried on on foot.

Snow had fallen two days before and the upper slopes of the hills and basically all terrain higher than 600 metres was covered in slushy snow that melted readily under the rays of a lively sun in May. But first the well-known path up towards the Lairig an Laoigh was nice, well-maintained and progress was very easy. In no time we crossed the footbridge at the south end of the grassy flats that commence when the forest is left behind. Again, this being the Cairngorm National Park, the path was excellent. We made good headway and crossed the tumbling little burn called Glas Allt Mhor – a place we would come back to later in the day:-).

A few hundred metres past the burn the path splits and we took the left fork leading in a rising traverse towards the Hutchinson Memorial Hut in the upper corrie which is dominated by Stob Coire Etchachan and Creagan Choire Etchachan. Care was needed on this part of the hike since the high standard of maintenance means that many small draining trenches lined with stones cross the path creating deep traps well-hidden by deep snow. Then we reached the hut and continued on the steep but easy path towards Loch Etchachan which found in pristine condition: In beautiful sunshine, its surface frozen over, guarded by hills covered in white. Great, great, bloody great! This is one of the most enchanting and beautiful spots in Scotland and Frank and I both felt privileged by the fact that on our second time visiting Loch Etchachan we had our second completely sunny day. On the first occasion, years before, we bagged Derry Cairngorm, Ben MacDui and Carn a’Mhaim.

Today, after a well-deserved pause spent taking in the scenery, we followed the eroded path up the south shoulder of Beinn Mheadhoin. This is a steep ascent with no other challenge than keeping up a regular walking rhythm and enjoying the grand views. When we reached the summit plateau of the Beinn we met another walker with his friendly dog and exchanged a few friendly words- with the man not with the dog. The rest was an entertaining stroll over point 1163m towards the succession of summit tors of Beinn Mheadhoin. After having identified the highest one of them we dumped our rucksacks at its foot and climbed up this interesting heap of brownish granite. And so we summited our last Munro in 2013 and were happy. Great weather, a great hill and a great time for us.

We did not stay for very long; a few snacks, some sips of water and a few photographs were all we took. We bid Beinn Mheadhoin goodbye and retraced our route of ascent back towards Derry Lodge and the Linn of Dee. A pity we couldn’t stay longer since we still had a trip to Pitlochry ahead of us that afternoon, had to book into our B&B and most importantly had to secure two seats in front of a TV in a pub to watch the 2013 Champions League Finale between Munich and Dortmund. But that’s another story.

After having glimpsed Loch Avon for the first time in our lives from the plateau rim on our descent, we unexpectedly encountered an obstacle further along our return hike: The sun had shone nicely, the snow had melted in copious amounts and the Glas Allt Mhor had swollen to become a strong, fast-flowing torrent which proved difficult to cross in spate conditions. Ouch! We moved hither and thither a bit up and down the burn but finally decided to wade it – not without difficulty and wet trousers – at the spot where the path crosses the burn. With this obstacle overcome the rest of the hike was easy as pie. We were back to our car after about eight very hours.

A great way to conclude the 2013 hiking season in Scotland. A solitary hill with lots of character climbed. A day that showed us the Cairngorms at their best. Haste ye back!

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Total distance: 34035 m
Max elevation: 1213 m
Min elevation: 385 m
Total climbing: 1118 m
Total descent: -1099 m
Total time: 07:22:26

Description Beinn Mheadhoin is aptly named, for it is right in the heart of the Cairngoms, almost totally surrounded by other mountains and rather inaccessible from starting points on the perimeter of the range. Like Ben Avon, it is recognisable by the tors on its skyline. On its north side it rises steeply above the dark waters of Loch Avon and on the south side the crags of Stob Coire Etchachan give the mountain a fine appearance in the view up Glen Derry.There are two routes to Beinn Mheadhoin, the northern approach being much shorter than the one from the south. It starts from the Coire Cas carpark and goes up the Fiacaill a' Choire Chais, the ridge on the west side of the corrie. From the cairn at its top continue south-east down Coire Raibert to Loch Avon and go round the head of the loch. Follow the path through the maze of huge boulders, passing close to the Shelter Stone, and continue along the path on a diagonal climb towards Loch Etchachan. Once level ground to the north of the loch is reached, leave the path and climb east then north-east to the broad summit ridge of Beinn Mheadhoin. The big summit tor is at its north-east end, and an easy scramble leads to its top.The return to Coire Cas follows the same route, and involves the re-ascent of just over 400 metres on the climb up Coire Raibert from Loch Avon.