Beinn Dronaig - 30km of Solitude Walking

A long knobbly ridge, if not a particularly dramatic one, Beinn Dronaig's chief distinction lies in its remote location. Tucked away in the wild Attadale Forest, the northern corner of the vast roadless reaches between Glen Shiel and Glen Carron, Dronaig is far from any access point, and takes a bit of getting to. Most will probably come by bike from Attadale - a good track, if not the most inspiring. More in keeping with the back-of-beyond feel is the (less bike-friendly) stalker's path through lonely miles from Achintee. Once the walk or bike-in are done it's possible to beeline to and from the summit, but a full west-east traverse of the hill has more going for it, with some fabulous views of the neighbouring Monar and Mullardoch Munros, and the mind-cleansing expanses of nothingness in between.

Coulin and Torridon hills from Beinn Dronaig  © Dan Bailey -
Coulin and Torridon hills from Beinn Dronaig
Fetching Map

Detailed description

NG9431041665 Go through a gate to pick up an overgrown track. At a junction with a signpost for Bearnais bothy and Bendronaig Lodge bothy go straight on to pass a fenced-off reservoir. Continue uphill on a stalker's path, weaving into the knobbly, lochan-pitted wilds of Attadale, with cracking views of the Coulin hills behind. After some km, pass over the Bealach Alltan Ruairidh, then follow a line of posts down a sloppy slope where the path is less distinct, to join the vehicle track from Attadale.

NG9966838605 The track heads for Beinn Dronaig and Bendronaig Lodge, doglegging to cross the Uisge Dubh via a metal bridge over a dramatic little gorge. While most walk descriptions now suggest tackling the northern flank of Beinn Dronaig, it's perfectly feasible to ascend it direct from the bridge; follow your nose southeast up wet heathery ground, cross a prominent traverse path, and continue up the uncompromisingly steep grassy western end of the hill to reach the first of many knobbly little summits.

NH0189537598 The broad ridge now leads east, passing over rocky tops and boggy hollows, to the trig pillar at the high point. From this tremendous viewpoint nearby Lurg Mhor and 'Cheesecake' look imposing, and the sense of being way out in the back of beyond is palpable.

NH0369838182 Go straight down to Bendronaig Lodge if you must, but a full traverse is worth the added effort. To do this, keep heading east down a very pleasant ridge above the mountain's steep north face. Off the end of the ridge, pick up an old stalker's path zigzagging down to the bridge at the outflow of lonely Loch Calavie.

NH0583838344 You're now on one of the routes of the Cape Wrath Trail, and may possibly meet some lucky souls who've managed to wangle 2 weeks to do noting but walk. The path marked by OS maps along the north side of the loch is unfortunately a full-on vehicle track (planning controls being for the little people, not estate owners). This does at least make for quick, easy striding. Heading west, pass over a shallow col and descend to the bothy at Bendronaig Lodge.

NH0135938852 It's a long way home from here, so let's hope you still have some juice in the tank. The Coulin view should put a spring in your step.

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Further Routes

by Dan Bailey UKH

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