Are these the least exciting of the Munros? Well other than the sheer convenience of an accessible high-altitude car park, it doesn't get off to an auspicious beginning. Grouse-wrecked, loud with A9 traffic, and further brutalised by the Beauly-Denny pylons, Drumochter is more grimly functional than most hillwalking start points. But you're soon above it all, and as the noise fades the sense of spaciousness opens up. On top it's easy striding to the piping soundtrack of moorland birds, and while the immediate surroundings of peat bog could have been lifted from a less eventful part of the Pennines, the wider views are great - particularly from Carn na Caim. Not just for committed baggers, these unassuming tops turn out to be worth a half day of anyone's time.
metres / Distance
NN6391681976 Cross the road (very cautiously) and walk north along the verge to a gated track entrance. Go under the pylon line and follow the track uphill. It soon turns south to make a steady ascent before zigzagging more steeply up to a junction on the broad hilltop.
NN6595780252 You could do either hill first, so let's start with the better viewpoint. Turning left, follow the wide, rutted track northeast into a dip, over a hump, and into another dip, with a line of old metal fence posts confirming your direction (if confirmation were needed). Approaching the next top, bear slightly right, then follow the fence posts across a boggy area and up to the 'summit' of Carn na Caim, where a cairn marks the vague high point. Head just north to the edge of Coire Cam for the full panorama over Speyside to the Monadhliath.
NN6770082151 With some good views of Ben Alder, the Black Mount, and many others, return to the col at the top of the access track. Continuing south, the track descends into a dip to cross a burn, climbs over a rise to another dip, then ascends towards A' Bhuidheanach. At a prominent quartz cairn cut left to descend to a boggy saddle. Hop over a burn and follow a grassy path ascending roughly south to a col between the slight humps of A' Bhuidheanach Mor and A' Bhuidheanach Bheag. A short soggy stride brings you to the trig point marking the high point (such as it is) of the day's second Munro.
NN6606677603 Return the way you came all the way down to the road. The sheer amount of backtracking does not make this the most satisfactory route, but at least you'll know the way by now.
"The sheer amount of backtracking does not make this the most satisfactory route, but at least you'll know the way by now."
It is possible do a more circular route by following a track beside the pylons to the back of Drumochter Lodge and then up the ridge between Coire Chuirn and Coire Chaorainn. A more direct return westward from Carn na Caim is also possible: the lower slopes are a bit rough and heathery but nothing terrible.
Even better (IMO), if you can sort the transport arrangements (2 cars, or a dropped off bike), is to do a traverse from Dalnaspidal. The Glas Mhealls ridge is really pleasant walking.
They are also very straightforward from the Gaick pass, I cycled in to somewhere near Sronphadraig Lodge and (as far as I remember) went up beside the wee burn S of Am Meadar, giving a high moorland walk over to A Bhuidhoneach Beag. Varied it coming back to the bike by coming off Carn na Caim into Cama Choire…quite exciting, but not sure that I’d recommend it!
Never saw a soul all day, I had been putting off the ascent from Balsporran as a Munro bagging chore whereas I ended up with a nice day’s exploration.