Geal-charn, Drumochter Walking

This Geal-charn (white hill) is probably the least exciting of several Munros by that name, but easy access makes it a good quick hit from the A9, a leg stretch in passing if you're en route somewhere with only a few hours to fill. After a fairly bleak start amid Drumochter's traffic noise and pylons, it's an easy ascent. Once on top the road can't be seen or heard, and the view over Loch Ericht to the remote Ben Alder massif makes it feel like a proper hill day after all. It's common to link Geal-charn with neighbouring A'Mharconaich, but the shorter route described here covers just the one summit before returning via a straightforward track in Coire Fhar.

A windy day on Geal-charn: not much of a hill in itself, but a great viewpoint   © Dan Bailey -
A windy day on Geal-charn: not much of a hill in itself, but a great viewpoint
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Detailed description

NN6272379103 From the car park, cross a bridge over the River Truim, pass Blasporran, a cosy-looking B&B, and nip over the railway at a gate. Follow the estate track west and then southwest, staying left at the first junction before crossing the Allt Beul an Sporain to reach a second junction.

NN6217179037 Turn right to follow the track uphill onto the broad north-eastern spur of Geal-charn. The vehicle track soon becomes a path, muddy in places, which gives a quick ascent to a large cairn on a shoulder at 840m. It's now a gentler ascent over the rounded summit slopes to the wind-break cairn marking the high point.

NN5963478261 Descend southwest, with a fantastic view over Loch Ericht and the Ben Alder hills. The south ridge is a little better defined than the ascent route, with some stony areas to break up the grass and heather plodding. Some way before the low point of the col connecting to A' Mharconaich, leave the path and bear left to descend to a stony 4WD track.

NN5951777305 The track first zigzags steeply downhill, before making a long gentler descent of Coire Fhar. Unfortunately the Drumochter hills have been comprehensively ravaged by the grouse shooting industry, so there's not much nature in this drab glen. It is, however, a quick way back to the road.

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