Cycling along Glen Bruar to Bruar Lodge

Beinn Dearg from Calvine

Hillwalking route through Glen Bruar and up Beinn Dearg

Although Beinn Dearg is a remote Munro, there is a network of paths and estate tracks leading to its base, the most direct of which travels from Calvine through Glen Bruar.

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap

Beinn Dearg

Walk ascent 550m (1800ft)
         distance 6km (4m)
         time 2:30hr
Bike ascent 620m (2030ft)
         distance 25km (16m)
         time 3:00hr
Start/finish Calvine
Grid Ref : NN804658
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Heading in from Calvine, the route to Bruar Lodge at the base of Beinn Dearg is on a fine estate track, on which the use of a sturdy bike is recommended. The track has been smoothed in recent years, so a hybrid-bike might suffice. There is one substantial bike climb on the way in (and again and the way out), which also means there's a fair bit of fun to be enjoyed freewheeling downhill.

The hike up Beinn Dearg is fairly short. There is an initial steep climb through tough heather, but once above this, the route is on a gentle incline with fine views around.

Route map

Route description

1. Getting to Calvine

Cycling along Glen Bruar

On the A9, a mile or so west of the House of Bruar, is the junction for Calvine, a slightly sad looking hamlet with school and shop now long gone. Parking is available opposite the old petrol station or at the entrance to Route 7 cycleway at the west end of the village.

2. Cycle to Bruar Lodge

Bruar Lodge and the bridge over Bruar Water

From the road junction in Calvine, you'll see a Right-of-Way sign pointing northwards. Head up the track here, going up the side of some houses to meet up with the A9 . Directly across the A9 you'll get onto a track. The track climbs steeply, turns sharply, passes a house and some forestry and continues through a gate.

Now on open hillside, the track climbs fairly steeply for 1km or so, before easing slightly. Now on a more gentle uphill gradient, the track continues for another 4km to its highest point at 460m .

A short flat section is followed by a freewheel downhill into Glen Bruar , with Beinn Dearg in good view ahead. The track continues for a further 6km with a few short inclines to the bridge by Bruar Lodge. Best to leave bikes here.

3. Beinn Dearg

Hiking up Beinn Dearg's heather-deep slopes

Over the bridge, head up towards Bruar Lodge. Just before the track turns towards the lodge, leave it and head into the forest ahead - there are occasionally horses or highland cattle in here, I've found them friendly. You should be able to find a faint path heading directly uphill through the trees to the edge of the forest.

A steep climb now presents itself. There's deep heather, burnt heather and occasional boulderfield to contend and it's just a case of putting in some effort to climb up around 250m before the gradient easies and the heather becomes more stunted.

Once the steep slopes above Bruar Lodge are left behind, you should be able to find a faint path travelling north-east through the heather over the flat expanse of Meall Dub a' Dail-ghairt. Another path coming up from the south-east will be picked up - this lead northwards, just west of the crest of Beinn Dearg's south-west shoulder and contouring around a minor bump with a small cairn. Beinn Dearg's summit appears ahead, its conical shape formed with boulderfield of red granite. The path twists a route to the summit cairn and the remains of the trig point.

4. Return

Returning along Beinn Dearg's crest

The most obvious choice is to return back down the same way to Bruar Lodge. An alternative would be to head north from Beinn Dearg's summit and descend down Beinn Gharbh and pick up the track on the north bank of the Allt Beinn Losgarnaich.

Back on bike, the climb up from Glen Bruar will test strength, but once the highest point is reached, the freewheel back to Calvine is fast and a joy !

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