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The Munros
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Ben Alder


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This is a long day, preferably eased by the use of a mountain bike. Alternatively camp or use a bothy for an overnight break. There are two Munros, with Ben Alder being one of the remoter ones to be found in Scotland. One can approach this remote mountain from the north, west and south; this route takes the north approach, starting just south of Dalwhinnie station. (The photograph shows Ben Alder from the south approach.) Cross the railway and take the estate road down the north-west shore of Loch Ericht. The bike can carry you some 11 km, as far as Loch Pattack.

Leaving the bike here, take a path which leaves the track just before a shed, striking across wet moorland towards the east bank of the Allt a' Chaoil-reidhe. The path is followed for about 7 km (with a view of Culra bothy on the opposite side of the burn) to reach the burn which flows from Loch a' Bhealaich Bheithe, the loch lying in the basin to the east of Ben Alder. Cross this burn and decide which of the two ridges facing you wish to take.

The Short Leachas, to the SW and above you, is steeper, with some scrambling, while the Long Leachas, further west, is easier. It also has some better views, weather permitting. Whichever one is taken leads to the summit plateau close to a minor top, beyond which one kilometre of gentle slopes leads south to the summit.

Make a partial circuit of the day by continuing along the edge of the Garbh Choire. This leads in about 1.5 km, south then SE to a steeper descent over boulder-strewn ground to the Bealach Breabag. A climb NE then leads to Sron Coire na h-Iolaire (955m). The north ridge of this carries you over Beinn Bheoil (1030m), the second Munro of this long day, and so back to the path, Loch Pattack, Dalwhinnie, and a well-deserved bout of relaxation!

 

Maps: OS Sheet 42
Distance: 45 km (about half possible by mountain bike) 
Ascent: 1030 m
Time: 8 hours plus
Food & Drink: Dalwhinnie will succour the weary traveller with a tea room and a hotel. The malt whisky made here can also be recommended!

 

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