Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuiridh from the north

Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird from Tomintoul

Biking and hillwalking route up Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird from Tomintoul

A delightful cycle on a fine track following lovely River Avon through Glen Avon is followed by hiking paths on gentle slopes to pass weird rocky tors to reach the high summits of Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuirid.

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap

Ben Avon (Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe)

Beinn a' Bhuird

Walk ascent 1300m (4260ft)
         distance 27km (17m)
         time 9:00hr
Bike ascent 300m (980ft)
         distance 24km (15m)
         time 1:30hr
Start/finish Tomintoul
Grid Ref : NJ164174
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

From lofty Tomintoul, fine estate roads and tracks head down lovely Glen Avon into a remote corner of the Cairngorms, where above are mighty Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuirid

The unusual volcanic tors on Ben Avon will have you wandering all over the place to investigate and to the summit tor requires an easy scramble on grippy rock to touch its top. Beinn a'Bhuird has huge cliffs below a vast summit plateau, with a tiny cairn resting there - navigation skills will be tested if in mist.

Route map

Route description

1. Getting to Tomintoul

Looking down The River Avon towards Linn of Avon

Tomintoul is one of the highest villages in the UK and is on the A939 halfway between Ballater and Grantown-on-Spey. In the village, on the main street and near its southern end, a Right-of-way sign points to Dalestie. Drive up this road, then rough track to a car-park with information board. Ahead a delightful cycle awaits.

2. Linn of Avon

Bridge over the Builg Burn with lower slopes of Ben Avon ahead

On bike, cycle south on the rough track. The track meets up with the tarred road coming from Delavorar Farm, then continues down to the estate houses at Brichfield where there are locked gates - there is a walkers gate to the side of the main gate.

The road stays tarred for around 6km, passing the sad ruin at Dalestie .Beyond the ruin at Dalesie the road loses its tarred surface and reverts to a fine smooth track and is followed down to the Linn of Avon, where a bridge over the Builg Burn is met.Cross the bridge and cycle for a mere 200m to leave your bike by the path that heads off left (south).

3. Ben Avon (Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe)

Ptarmigan and the Clach Choutsaich tor

Leave your bike and now on foot, follow the obvious path twisting as it climbs uphill. The distinct path gradually becomes fainter with height - if difficult to find (eg with snow cover), look for a cairn on the skyline ahead and aim for this.

Beyond this cairn the path becomes more obvious again and climbs gently uphill to the wierd rocks of East Muir Gorm Craig .

The path picks a way through the heather on the eastern side of West Muir Gorm Craig then disappears on the approach to Mullach Lochan nan Gobhar.A tor to the left ahead can be seen from here, but it is not the summit, it's Clach Choutsaich. Ben Avon's summit is further on in a more south-westerly direction.

After gaining a bit more height, Ben Avon's summit tor comes into view. Upon reaching it, an easy scramble is all that's required to touch the top !

4. Beinn a'Bhuird

The bealach between Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird

From the Ben Avon's summit, head south-west and drop on a worn path to the bealach between Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird.

Follow the path heading west up some scree, zig-zagging on the way. The ground levels, becomes grass covered and then it's not too obvious as to what direction to aim, though in mist this can be navigationally testing !

Keep to the left (south) of Cnap a Chleirich , the minor top ahead and stick in a generally westward direction.

Beinn a'Bhuird's North Top comes into view, cross a small burn and continue over pathless grassy ground to the tiny cairn on the broad and vast summit. Due to the large flat area here, you'll have to walk a few yards from the cairn to get the best views !

5. Return to Tomintoul

The gorge near Faindouran Lodge

On fairly flat ground with no trace of path, aim just west of north. Height is gradually lost and the weird rocks of Cnap Leum an Easaich come into view . Keeping to the right of these, descend a bit more and a faint path can shortly thereafter be picked up aiming north-eastwards. This heads down to a shoogly bridge over a narrow gorge in the River Avon.

Cross the bridge and strike uphill to pick up an estate track making a way above the north bank of the river. Head eastwards on the track.

Around 6km further on from joining the track you'll be posed a choice - to climb uphill on the fine track or stay low on grass and a bit of bog - I chose the latter ! The track is re-joined and shortly thereafter the track re-crosses the river onto its south side and, after going through a gate in a deer-fence, you'll meetup with your bike for the cycle back up Glen Avon.

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Steven Fallon
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Edinburgh EH9 1JT


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