Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh Walking

Dwarfing the railway and road at its foot, Beinn Dorain is an iconic landmark of the Southern Highlands. Seen from the south its symmetrical cone looks vaguely volcanic, and could be Scotland’s answer to Fuji-san or Cotopaxi. Anyone who’s walked the West Highland Way beneath its sweeping slopes and felt shrunken to ant-like status will be familiar with Dorain’s massive presence. But this isn’t a mountain just for looking at; it’s great to climb too, and combines well with Beinn an Dothaidh, an impressive lump in its own right with a stupendous view out over the crags to the expanse of Rannoch Moor.

Beinn a' Chaisteil and the Crianlarich hills from Beinn an Dothaidh  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Beinn a' Chaisteil and the Crianlarich hills from Beinn an Dothaidh
Fetching Map

Detailed description

1
NN2971739510 Cross the A82 and walk east up the road opposite the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. Go through a railway underpass by the station, then take a path on the left, past a telecom transmitter. Climb steadily eastwards through grassy hummocks, beside the cutting of the Allt Coire an Dothaidh. The path ascends into the bowl of Coire an Dothaidh. At the head of the corrie the path climbs steeply and stonily between two large crags to reach the 744m spot height shown on the 1:50000 map, at a saddle marked by a cairn.
Beinn Dorain, the classic view from the A82  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Beinn Dorain, the classic view from the A82
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com

2
NN3251839856 If you're first heading for Beinn Dorain, turn hard right on a stony path up a spur. Pass a pool on a flatter area before climbing more steeply again, weaving up onto the broad north ridge. The first summit you reach, Carn Sasunnaich, is marked with two big cairns, and thus easily mistaken for the true summit. The highest point is actually a little further south across a notch. A promontory ringed by steep craggy slopes, it feels like a genuine mountain top.

3
NN3255937854 Return to the 744m col, then continue uphill, trending generally north-northeast up stony ground to reach Beinn an Dothaidh's west top, a great viewpoint overlooking the mountain's big northern crags. Of Dothaidh's three summits, the middle is the highest (though not by much); follow the broad ridge eastwards to the cairn marking the main summit, before continuing south along the ridge to the southeast top.
Beinn Achaladair from Beinn an Dothaidh  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Beinn Achaladair from Beinn an Dothaidh
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com

4
NN3330040566 Descent southwest across the broad open slopes of Coire Reidh (in poor conditions take care not to drift south onto steeper ground), to rejoin the ascent path just above the 744m col. Now go back down the way you came to Bridge of Orchy.

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Further Routes

by Dan Bailey UKH



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