Ben Macdui

  • Looking south down upper Dee from Ben Macdui, Lairig Ghru to right  - © Flickr andrewrendell
  • Cairn Toul and Braeriach across Lairig Ghru from Ben Macdui  - © Flickr Nick Bramhall 2
  • Ben Macdui massif from Glen Lui - © William Mackesy
  • Cairn Toul, Braeriach, Bern Macdui and  upper Dee from Carn A Mhaim - © William Mackesy
  • Ben Macdui  from Carn A Mhaim - © William Mackesy
  • Ben macdui from Carn A Mhaim ridge - © William Mackesy

Key information: Ben Macdui

  • Britain’s second highest peak towers directly above the deep glacial gouge where the Upper Dee valley becomes the Lairig Ghru. It is part of Britain’s highest mass, the central Cairngorm plateau.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86.5
  • Beauty32.5
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating86.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: A long day, or overnight
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,309m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Cairn Toul and Braeriach across Lairig Ghru from Ben Macdui  - © Flickr Nick Bramhall 2

WALK SUMMARY

Britain’s second highest peak, at 1,309m, towers directly above the deep glacial gouge where the Upper Dee valley becomes the Lairig Ghru. It is part of Britain’s highest mass, the central Cairngorm plateau, with its unique sub-Arctic eco-system and superb 360° view across the high ridges of the range and toward Speyside to the west. From the top you look directly into the huge Garbh Choire cirque between Braeriach and Cairn Toul on the far side of the deep Upper Dee glen.  

Walkers can approach Ben Macdui from Speyside, usually starting from the carpark on Cairn Gorm’s north-west flank, in a minimum of 16km/8hr round trip; or in a very long day from Deeside -  a minimum of 27km/12hrs. And, in this modern world, you can approach by mountain bike from Deeside up Glen Derry or part-way up Glen Lui and then walk in.

Those willing to stay overnight can approach from the Corrour hut in the Upper Dee Valley, the Derry Lodge area at the junction of Glens Lui and Derry, or the Loch Avon area, via routes which include the dramatic Avon Slabs. Or, indeed, wherever else you chose to camp.

Ben Macdui is part of a high plateau, so, unless you slog up the Tailor Burn or one of the other paths up the steep slopes from the Upper Dee/ Lairig Ghru, you will have some long but lovely high – country tramping, be it from the Cairn Gorm direction; or from the very rough Derry Cairngorm or the lovely ridge walk of Carn a’ Mhaim. Possibly the most gorgeous and varied of all approaches is via Loch Etchachan to the east, be it from Glen Derry or Loch Avon, or up the Avon Slabs from Loch Avon.

This is demanding walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather. It can be very dangerous in bad weather, as it has great cliffs and crags to its west and east, and the plateau has more of them at its other edges. Come fully prepared, including to descend quickly if the weather deteriorates.

The Cairngorms: Walks, Trails and Scrambles – Cicerone. As usual, a brilliantly researched book covering 102 fantastic walks of all shapes and sizes, including several on Ben Macdui. And written by the at times poetic Ronald Turnbull.

Find relevant books on Amazon.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

For further general and practical information and photos, please go to our Cairngorms page.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Ben macdui from Carn A Mhaim ridge - © William Mackesy

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Cairn Toul, Braeriach, Bern Macdui and  upper Dee from Carn A Mhaim - © William Mackesy...
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