Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch WalkingMountain biking

The rolling expanses south of the main Cairngorms massif have a unique feeling of spacious scale, making up in sheer isolation what they lack in craggy drama. Horizons are broad here, and distances big. Rising at the heart of it, Carn an Fhidhleir (otherwise known as Carn Ealar) and An Sgarsoch are among the most remote of the Munros. Some tolerance for heather and bogs is a must here, while a mountain bike will save hours of trudging on the stony tracks of the lower glens. Without wheels it would be a tall order to do this route in one day; many choose to camp at the lonely ruins of Geldie Lodge.

On the north side of An Sgarsoch, with a view over miles of not much of anything   © Dan Bailey -
On the north side of An Sgarsoch, with a view over miles of not much of anything
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NO0632189769 From Linn of Dee car park (pay and display) return to the road and walk west. At the first big bend continue west onto a track. This follows the River dee up-glen to reach White Bridge in about 4km.

NO0189688479 Cross the bridge and stay with the track, passing a pine plantation beside the Geldie Burn to reach an old bothy (undergoing renovation at the time of writing) just west of the junction of the Geldie Burn and Bynack Burn. Quite rutted and rocky in places, the track continues up-glen along the north bank of the Geldie Burn, passing through a gated area of young woodland. The first major side stream, the Allt Dhaidh Beag, is crossed on a bridge, but the second, the Allt Dhaidh Mor, has to be forded. Beyond this the track makes a gradual descent to the Geldie Burn.

NN9572287150 Ford the Geldie Burn (may need care if the water is high) then follow the track to cross a smaller burn before going uphill to the ruins of Geldie Lodge. Many people camp here. Just behind the lodge, pick up an excellent footpath that trends west-southwest in a winding fashion across the northern flank of An Sgarsoch; stay with this for nearly 3km, to reach a small cairn near the high point of the path on the northwest side of Sgarsoch Beag.

NN9269485810 Cut south off the main trail, following a path of sorts to cross a burn before climbing quite steeply up the northern flank of An Sgarsoch, the terrain becoming grassier and more pleasant underfoot as height is gained. The summit is marked with a large cairn.

NN9331483663 Heading west, a path descends to the boggy bealach between the two Munros; aim for the high point of the col rather than being lured too far right. Continuing uphill, the path makes a nice airy traverse across the grassy east flank of Carn an Fhidhleir's south top, before gaining the main ridge at a broad col for the steady climb to the day's second Munro summit.
Distant Glen Feshie from Carn an Fhidhleir  © Dan Bailey -
Distant Glen Feshie from Carn an Fhidhleir
© Dan Bailey -, Jul 2021

NN9046584180 Descend the broad north ridge, again on a clear trail, before trending right to descend quite steeply into the peat hag-riddled corrie floor. Weaving roughly east over the moor the path underfoot is easily misplaced, but you can see the trail to aim for on the hillside beyond the Allt a' Chaorainn. Cross the burn to pick up the well-made route back around the northern flank of An Sgarsoch to Geldie Lodge. If you cycled then now's the time to feel smug: if you didn't, then steel yourself for a long walk out.

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