Ben Alder and the Lancet Edge Walking

With some of the biggest and wildest hills in the central highlands, the Ben Alder area makes for a great remote weekend taking in two fantastic scrambles, several hard-won Munros, and some excellent ridge walking. A good chunk of the distance is on an estate track, for which a mountain bike will relieve the tired feet, although the walk is just as enjoyable. Fitting neatly into a weekend (if the initial track is done on Friday evening) the route is best split into three sections with many potential camping spots.

Sun setting behind Geal-Chàrn from Loch an Sgòir, Ben Alder Forest.  © Jozef Tckoz
Sun setting behind Geal-Chàrn from Loch an Sgòir, Ben Alder Forest.
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Detailed description

NN6337584632 From the level crossing in Dalwhinnie follow Ben Alder road past a series of stunning buildings along the side of Loch Ericht. Upon reaching Ben Alder Lodge head up the track to Loch Pattack. This can be done in an evening with plenty of posible pitches on the Loch shore.

NN5480378689 Continue up the path on the east side of the stream and follow it as it leaves the stream and heads up towards the coire. Just as the path starts to steepen and zigzag, branch off and follow a faint contouring path to cross the Allt a'Bhealaich Bheithe. It's possible to leave camping equipment here to lighten the load for the loop over Ben Alder.

NN5112974113 Head up towards the obvious ridge, Long Leachas and follow the broken scramble to the top. Many variations of route are possible to suit all. Continue up to the summit of Ben Alder.
Fearsome last season cornices on Ben Alder  © Steely12
Fearsome last season cornices on Ben Alder
© Steely12, Apr 2021

NN4959771845 Fantastic views accompany the walk around towards the bealach between Ben Alder and Beinn Bheòil. The descent to the saddle is a bit steep and the path quite vague. From the bealach continue over Beinn Bheòil amd back towards where you left your camping kit. Follow the burn down and cross the large stream. If in spate there is a bridge down the valley by the bothy. From here head up to Loch an Sgòir where there are some places to pitch a tent.

NN4925775118 Start up the obvious ridge to the south of the loch ( Lancet Edge). Again, there are many routes up the ridge to suit most difficulties. Continue on to the summit of Geal-Chàrn. There's now the option of a long out-and-back leg over Aonach Beag to Beinn Eibhinn. It's a long way over two big summits, with significant added ascent, but a nice open ridge walk that it's not a hardship to do twice.

NN4698774621 From the summit of Geal-Charn head east-northeast over the plateau, to the point where the ground steepens into a ridge. A short steep path to the right of the nose takes you down to the bealach, from where it's an easy walk over an intervening minor top and up to Càrn Dearg.

NN5039876418 Stay with the broad ridge to descend northeast, then skirt above Coire Sron an Nid. A vague path now takes you back to Loch Pattack, for the long and straightforward walk/ride back to Dalwhinnie.

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Further Routes

by Steely12

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