Three Munros in One Day – The Cairnwell Munros.

The Cairnwell Munros are a group of three Munros near the Glenshee Ski Centre - Carn Aosda (917m), Carn a Gheoidh (975m) and The Cairnwell(933m).

This walk starts at the Glenshee Ski Centre car park, and the good news is that the car park is situated at over 600m, which makes it a reasonably easy task to do all three hills in a few hours - even if you are getting on a bit in years like me!
In fact, this must also make Carn Aosda at 917m one of the easiest Munros to climb.

The bad news is that as it is a ski centre, the hills are covered in chairlifts, tows, snow fences and all the other hardware you would associate with skiing.  But I suppose you can't have a ski centre without all the stuff that goes with it.

The top of the Cairnwell is also covered in communication masts, power cables etc.

So this is not the most picturesque walk, but there are nice views to be had - and you do get to claim three Munros in a day!
It should take 4 - 5 hours.

Get a Map for Climbing The Cairnwell Munros

The Cairnwell Munros - Part 1 - Getting There

The Ski Centre is located along The Old Military road (A93) between Braemar and Bridge of Cally.

The road itself is a popular tourist drive, and is the highest A road in the UK.

The road is often closed by snow in the winter.
Park at the Ski Centre, or in the overflow parking on the other side of the road if it is busy.
The picture shows a sunny start to my climb, and the first hint of the bad weather to come!

Get Directions

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Part 2

Head round the right hand side of the Ski Centre and take the gravel path leading up hill.

When the path reaches the green, octagonal building, follow it round to the right past the building.

Octagonal cafe, Glenshee

The path now turns to the left and starts to head steeply up the slope.

The path heads steeply up the slope

When the track swings left and cuts across a ski run, look out for an eroded path heading off to the right for Carn Aosda

Track to Carn Aosda

You now have a good view of The Cairnwell with all its radio masts, and the ski centre below.

The Cairnwell
Looking down on Glenshee Ski Centre

At the top of the ridge, you will see a track heading off to the right, but if you look straight ahead, you can make out a faint path heading through the rocks to the summit.

Take this path, and you will very soon reach the top of Carn Aosda, the first of the three Munros.

Summit of Carn Aosda

Part 3 - Carn a Gheoidh

Retrace your steps down to the ridge, and follow the track that goes past the end of Loch Vrotachan.

The path begins to climb again towards The Cairnwell.  You soon pass a small path leading across to the right.

Loch Vrotachan

This will take you across towards Carn a'Gheoidh - however, this one is quite boggy.  If you look up, you can make out a second path running across the face of the hill - take this path to avoid the boggy ground.

The path climbs on to the top of the crags marked Creag a'Choire Dhirich on the map.

You pass three small lochans - after the last one look for the path swinging to the right away from the crags towards Carn a'Gheoidh in the distance.

Carn nan Sac

You are now on the plateau called Carn nan Sac.  Paths come and go, but you can always see where you are heading.

Now you are far away from the ski slopes, and there are fine views all around.

The old military road

After the final climb to the top of Carn a'Gheoidh, you find a bit of a boulder field between you and the cairn.  The going is easier off to the right - as I found out on the way back down!

Carn a'Gheoidh

Part 4 - The Cairnwell

To climb the Cairnwell, just retrace your steps all the way back to the small path you took leading off the Cairnwell track.  Then turn right and follow the track up to the particularly unattractive summit.

The Cairnwell summit

By now, the bad weather had arrived and was throwing everything at me - hailstones, rain, snow - so the final shot was taken from a small leaky hut on the summit.

There was just enough room for me, a rucksack and a flask of coffee - lovely!

To return, just head back down the track until you reach Loch Vrotachan again, and you will see the descent track heading off to the right.


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