The Cairnwell Munros - Hike Report

The Cairnwell Munros - Hike Report

Elliot Forbes

Munro Number: 26,27,28
Date: May 04 2024
Ascent: 717m
Distance: 14.21km
Moving Time: 3:43:56
Total Time: 4:35:50
GPX File: Download


The Cairnwell Munros constitute a group of three Munros in the eastern part of the Scottish Highlands. The three Munros are Carn Aosda, Carn a’Gheoidh, and The Cairnwell.

Munro NamePronunciationTranslationHeight (m)
Carn AosdaCarn OosdaAncient Rocky Hill917
Carn a’GheoidhCarn a yowieRocky Hill of the Goose975
The CairnwellAs isHill of Bags933

This is a fantastic route for those looking to bag multiple munros in a single day without being too strenuous. The route is mostly well marked in places, but we did find ourselves losing the path a few times in the clagged in conditions we did these mountains in at points. Having a good GPS device or a map and compass is definitely a must for all mountains regardless of how well marked the path is and they certainly saved us from a few wrong turns on this hike.

Route Map

Route Elevation Profile

Route Description

You start off in the car park of the Glenshee Ski center. You do need to pay for parking here and it was £6 for our camper or £4 if you’re in a car. There are facilities here such as toilets and a cafe which is great for a post-hike coffee or a pre-hike breakfast.

Stage 1 - Carn Aosda

The first munro you tackle is Carn Aosda. This is the smallest of the three munros and you can generally get to the summit in about 40-60 minutes depending on fitness levels.

You start by taking the path to the right of the Glenshee Ski center and follow this rocky path up the hill. You don’t really get much of a warm up on this hike as you’re pretty much straight into the ascent.

You should pass by a few ski lifts and the snow factory on your way up and when you reach a fork in the path, make sure you take the path to the right. This winds up the mountain until you get to 890m, you should take the path to the right which leads up to the summit of Carn Aosda.

Stage 2 - Carn a’Gheoidh

Once you’ve topped your first munro for the day, you need to retrace your steps down and head west following the track across the top of the ski runs to your left. The path snakes down to the bealach above Loch Vrotachan before slowly climbing up the grassy slopes to the summit of Carn a’Gheoidh.

Continue along this ridge until you hit a short and fairly steep climb up to the summit. This summit is the highest of the three on this hike and is a good place to stop for a quick bite to eat and a drink before heading on to the final munro of the day.

Stage 3 - The Cairnwell

Retrace your steps back towards the bealach above Loch Vrotachan and take the path to the right which leads up to the summit of The Cairnwell. This is perhaps the ugliest of the three munros with a selection of buildings and a ski lift at the top which can be a bit of an eyesore.

Once you’ve touched the top of the wooden toilet that marks the summit, you’ll once again want to retrace your steps back to the bealach. At this point, you have the option to take the chairlift and enjoy a quicker way off the mountain, or you can follow the paths back down to the carpark.

If you are feeling braver, WalkHighlands does suggest that you can take the more direct path down alongside the ski lifts but we opted to take the path back. We were treated to some jump-scares from the grouse that were hiding in the heather alongside the path which was potentially the highlight of our clagged in day.

munros munro bagging scottish mountains
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