Braeriach from Linn of Dee


This is a unique backpacking adventure into the heart of the Cairngorm's National Park. The adventure starts from the Linn of Dee car park in the beautiful Dee Valley just west of Braemar. This is a three day hike that involves a hike to a base camp at Corrour Bothy. The bothy sits in the magnificent Lairig Ghru. Wedged between Scotland's second and third highest mountains the Lairig Ghru is probably Britain's most impressive mountain pass. As magical as it sounds and one of the best base camps you could ever wish for. The first night will be spent in the Corrour Bothy or there are options to wild camping or bivvy outside. The following day you will ascend the Devil's Point ( Formerly the Devil's Penis until a visiting Queen Victoria intervened ) before traversing the entire Braeriach Ridge and its four Munros. After the ridge there is a descent to the Lairig Ghru and a hike back to the Corrour Bothy for a second nights stay. On the final day a leisurely stroll back to Linn of Dee through the beautiful caledonian pine forests at Glen Derry.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts at the National Trust car park by the Linn of Dee. Linn of Dee is situated approximately six miles down an unclassified road west of the popular highland resort of Braemar on the A93. Braemar is a popular town famous for its highland games, royal connections and in its remote scenic location also known for holding the record for the coldest place ever in Britain. To get to the Linn of Dee simply head into the centre of Braemar and carry on going along the road, it will eventually turn into the unclassified road and head west out of Braemar towards the beautiful Dee Valley. The road will follow the left side of the valley and there are some fantastic views across the River Dee as it snakes through the wide open valley floor with the high peaks of the Cairngorms as the dramatic backdrop. You will pass the Inverey Youth Hostel before eventually reaching the charming and stunning Linn of Dee bridge. I am also informed by a friend in Scotland that there is a Post Bus Service available each day that can take you along this road to Linn of Dee and I have heard rumors that in summer months there may be a small bus service introduced in the future.
  2. The Linn of Dee bridge crosses the River Dee at a stunning location where the normally wide river passes through a tough rocky gorge creating fast currents and ever changing rock formations. I would highly recommend a walk down to the gorge by the bridge although watch out for the midges! The bridge here was built by the fifth Earl of Fife and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1857. The Linn of Dee area is part of the National Trust for Scotland's impressive Mar Lodge Estate. If you cross the bridge you will soon see the large car park on the left hand side. The car park is a National Trust car park so members of any National Trust can park for as long as they want or free. The charges in this and many car parks on the outer edges of the Cairngorm's have often come under fire although I personally don't think they are too high compared with those in other mountainous areas around Britain. At the time of writing this walk the charges were £2 a for pay and display and that's per visit and not per day so you can leave your car there for a few nights for that. The car park is a very remote and safe place too.
  3. At the Linn of Dee car park take the obvious path heading north through the forest. If your unsure as to which path then check out the information board at the car park which has a map on it. You want the path that heads north to Glen Lui and Derry Lodge. These magnificent forests are a mix of managed, reintroduced and remnants of the ancient caledonian pine forests. After approximately a kilometre the forests will start to become more open and on your right you will get your first site of Lui Water before eventually crossing it on a wide wooden road bridge. After crossing the bridge turn left and head along the track north through Glen Lui towards Derry Lodge. Glen Lui was once a populated valley with a few small townships, the remains of which can be seen along the track side. After just over two kilometres the track will bend to the right through a small woodland and then reach an opening where the grand old shooting lodge of Derry Lodge stands sadly boarded up and unused.
  4. Derry Lodge is a real shame, you can tell by looking at the building it was once a grand and impressive shooting lodge, but these days it sits in its almost perfect location sadly unused, there are endless uses that this fine building could be used for but sadly for whatever reason no one has the time or money for it, although I have read proposals for a Youth Hostel. Derry Lodge is a grade three listed building. It was built in the late 19th century and once belonged to the Duke of Fife but since change of ownership is now a part of the Mar Lodge Estate. A climbing club did make use of it at one point but due to increasing rent the club were forced to look elsewhere. There is a mountain rescue post situated in one of the old sheds behind the lodge, the mountain rescue teams use this as a base for training and storage, there is a phone here to for serious emergencies. The other buildings around Derry Lodge include the Luibeg Cottage across the river.
  5. At Derry Lodge the waters of the Luibeg Burn and the Derry Burn meet and the area is quite a boggy area in wet conditions. Just after the mountain rescue post there is a wooden footbridge that crosses the Derry Burn, cross this bridge and then turn left crossing the flat marshy land in a westerly direction towards Glen Luibeg following the Luibeg Burn. On your left across the Luibeg Burn you will see the old cottage of Luibeg. This cottage was occupied by a few, but most famous of those would have to be Robert Lane Scott, a well known game keeper and deer stalker of the Mar Lodge Estate. Bob Scott as he is better known was born in Linn of Dee cottage, he went to school in Inverey and worked on the estate for most of his life, so if this was anyone's land it was certainly his. While working as a game keeper in the area Bob Scott used a small bothy now known locally as Bob Scott's Bothy. This bothy has been used for decades firstly by Bob and years later by hundreds of walkers each year seeking shelter and solitude. The bothy is a vital part of the areas heritage and in 2003 it was accidentally burn to the ground but the locals and organisation worked hard to rebuild it to its original glory and built a fine bothy that is even better. The new Bob Scott's Bothy is in a slightly more secluded location but not far from the original.
  6. Now on the Glen Luibeg path and leaving Luibeg and Derry Lodge behind follow the path as its skirts along the enchanting Luibeg Burn. To your right is the steep shoulders of Carn Crom. After a few kilometres you will have rounded the south shoulder of Carn Crom and a glen should open up to the right with some magnificent views up into the highest peaks of the Cairngorms and in particular Ben Macdui. From here the path now splits off into two paths, one that heads up into the glen towards Ben Macdui and the other heads over the Luibeg Burn and rounds the south side of Carn a' Mhaim before heading into the Lairig Ghru. You want to take the second option and head round the south side of Carn a' Mhaim. To do this you can either cross some stepping stones, or simply walk up the other path for about 300 metres and cross Luibeg Bridge. Obviously if the Luibeg Burn is in spate then you must take the Luibeg Bridge option, however otherwise I would highly recommend the stepping stones route as it passes through some lovely regenerated woodland accompanied by wonderful reindeer mosses and colourful heathers.
  7. Once on the other side of the Luibeg Burn follow the path for a few more kilometres as it steadily rises rounding the south side of Carn a' Mhaim. All of a sudden a mass of striking rock comes into view right in front of you. This is The Devils Point. The gaelic name for this mountain is Bod an Deamhain which translates as 'Penis of the Demon'. The mountain was actually known as The Devils Penis until visited by Queen Victoria who demanded that the mountain be known by its new name The Devils Point. From this viewpoint I think the mountain takes on a very similar profile to that of Buachaille Etive Mor in the western highlands. To the left of The Devils Point you will now be able to take in the desolate Glen Geusachan with Geusachan Burn snaking its way through the wide flat desolate glen. Carry on along the footpath until you have The Devils Point on your left across the River Dee and the steep Carn a' Mhaim western flanks on your right. In front now you will see the huge glen that is the start of the Lairig Ghru.
  8. You will soon be able to make out the Corrour Bothy across the river to your left. To get to the bothy there is a metal footbridge. Turn left off the main path and head towards the metal footbridge. The metal footbridge can be extremely dangerous as it gets slippery when wet, and the land between the bridge and the bothy can be boggy. Once at the Corrour Bothy you can decide how you want to plan your adventure. As you can make it to the Corrour Bothy in good time from Linn of Dee, what I have done in the past is leave my heavy rucksack in the bothy and bag The Devils Point before dark, or you could just do it as part of the ridge the next day. Also if you do plan on returning to the Corrour Bothy the next night it is well worth leaving your heavy bag or items there the next day when you walk the Braeriach Ridge and take a small day pack instead.
  9. The Corrour Bothy is a small but extremely popular bothy so I would never make a journey to it expecting to be the only person there or even expecting space to sleep, obviously your best best for a quiet night is out of season and midweek but even then you may not be alone. As with most bothying situation I would always carry a tent as backup, there is a small area of flat grass outside the front of the bothy. When I was last in the bothy it was quite grim but a good shelter, more recently though the Mountain Bothies Association of whom I am a member and huge fan, have completely renovated the bothy and now even has a toilet! The bothy does have a small stream next to it but I'd suggest taking water from as far up stream as possible.
  10. After a good nights sleep in the bothy or tent the next days agenda is to traverse the Braeriach Ridge that walls the entire left side of this part of the Lairig Ghru and has a total of four Munros. The walks starts from the Corrour Bothy and heads uphill taking the path directly behind the bothy. A fairly easy but steep path leads up along side the Allt a' Choire Odhair and into the Coire Odhar often crossing small streams and then getting steeper towards the top before topping out on the flat top ridge. From this point you can either go left following the obvious path and shape of the ridge to the Munro top of The Devils Point at 1004M above sea level, in my opinion well worth the effort as its an easy walk to its summit and the views from there are are amazing. If you do walk to The Devils Point then to walk the rest of the ridge simply follow the ridge line back down to where you met the ridge at the top of the path from the Coire Odhar.
  11. From here head in a north westerly direction going uphill over small boulders and grass. After a steep ascent you will reach the second summit of the day known as Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir. At 1213M above sea level its an impressive peak but not considered a Munro as it is more of a bump on the next objective. While ascending and descending which you will do a lot of on this roller coaster of a ridge look out for the Ptarmigans, they are a fascinating bird that change colour into a white fluffy winter plumage in the colder months and take on a completely different plumage for the summer months, getting them in between these two plumage is great too see. Follow the obvious edge of the ridge in a northerly direction, basically following the highest ground until you reach yet another impressive peak known as Cairn Toul or Carn an t-Sabhail. At 1291M above sea Carn Toul is the second Munro of the day. From Carn Toul you should now go west then north west once again following the obvious edge of the ridge and sticking to the highest ground. You will reach the summit of Sgor an Lochain Uaine or The Angel's Peak at 1258M above sea level and the third Munro of the day. The views from these mountains on a clear day will take your breath away and the wild remote landscapes will absolutely fascinate your mind. Looking east over the Lairig Ghru is Britain's second highest mountain Ben Macdui. Nestled between the ridges that head of Sgor an Lochain Uaine is the awesome Lochan Uaine, you couldn't find a more stunning location for a Loch. The view down the northern half of the Lairig Ghru from Sgor an Lochain Uaine is something words cannot describe, its hard to believe even looking at a picture of it that your in this country.
  12. From Sgor an Lochain Uaine head west and downhill slightly for just under a kilometre until you then need to start heading in a northerly direction going once again uphill on the higher ground and ridge edge. Looking over the edge here there are some serious looking gullies and buttresses into Garbh Choire Mor. Its not rare to see snow patches all year round here after a bad winter. You will eventually go over a round topped hill known as Carn na Criche at which point you need to now start heading slightly north to north east still following the ridge. As you get closer to Braeriach the ground becomes boggy, this is where the source of the River Dee or as it is better known the Wells of Dee can be found on the left, its not often you find a cold fresh water source so high in the mountains. The outflow falls off the mountain side here in spectacular fashion as the Falls Of Dee.
  13. From the Wells of Dee follow the obvious path north east towards the higher ground that becomes more rocky as it gets closer to Braeriach. You'll soon top out on the third highest mountain in Britain at 1296M above sea level. If the weather is good you'll probably get some of the best views you've seen in your life, you may also even be able to look down the Lairig Ghru towards the Corrour Bothy and see your new mountain home in its unbelievable surroundings. The views across the Lairig Ghru to Ben Macdui are awesome and looking north now you should be able to make out the busy little highland town of Aviemore. From the summit of Braeriach head east for a kilometre and then down into a col between Braeriach and Sron na Lairige. You now want to be getting back down into the Lairig Ghru. From the col there is a very faint and rough path marked on maps that goes down into Coire Ruadh and quickly into Lairig Ghru. You can in good weather and if your are experienced take this path down into the Lairig Ghru, it basically disappears half way down and you end up on a steep and very rough ascent over boulders and heather with hidden holes. I also came across the wreckage of a helicopter on this path. Another alternative is too continue on the ridge going over Sron na Lairige and following the ridge path down into the northern end of the Lairg Ghru then coming back on yourself. I use the first option but in bad weather may opt for the second and easier option, although this way is easier it does add an five extra kilometres and maybe an hour to the walk. Once you are back on the path in the floor of the Lairig Ghru head south on the obvious path and after around five kilometres you will find yourself opposite the Corrour Bothy and simply needing to cross the metal footbridge again to the bothy for another night in the hills and a well deserved break! For those who feel fit enough you could return to Linn of Dee but personally I prefer to stay out again and make this a two night adventure.

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL57 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 43 Map Click to buy Harveys British Mountain Map Cairngorms Click to buy Pathfinder Cairngorms Walks Guides

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.