Blaven from the Cuillin

Blaven from Loch Slapin

Hillwalking route up Blaven from Strathaird in Skye

Blaven is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful mountains in Scotland and one of the easier Munro peaks on Skye to bag. Heading in from Loch Slapin, this route makes for a direct ascent up Blaven from the John Muir Trust car-park above the shores of the loch.

Route outline

  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
Munros Blaven (Bla Bheinn)
Ascent 930m (3050ft)
Distance 8km (5m)
Time 3:35hr
Start/finish Loch Slapin
Grid Ref : NG561218
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

From a hillwalkers perspective it is actually relatively straightforward to ascend Blaven to its main Munro summit on clear days. The John Muir Trust have installed a small visitor centre with loos and notice-board in the car-park at the foot of the mountain and they have been improving the paths and surrounding habitat. Higher up, cairns indicate where worn paths begin to trace a route through the route ground. There is one section around 50m or so below the summit with a bit of rock-scrambling required to get up (and down) a nick in the rock.

Once up Blaven's summit the views to be savoured are not only vast but also quite stunning particularly the entire Black Cuillin Ridge rising beween the sea and the gravel of the Red Cuillin peaks.

Route detail

Getting to the start by Loch Slapin »
  • On Skye, when heading west through Broadford, a sign points the way south to Elgol.
  • Follow this single-track road for 12km, through Torrin and just around the head of Loch Slapin.
  • Just after the bridge over the Allt na Dunaiche, there is a large rough car-park.

Blaven via the 'tourist route' »
  • Start by the north side of the Allt na Dunaiche and head up the well constructed path. Through some gates, the path continues gently uphill passing some lovely waterfalls.
  • After around 1.5km, the path crosses the Allt na Dunaiche via stepping stones and continues for another 300m to cross another tributary to reach the base of Coire Uaigneich. Attempting to cross the Allt na Dunaiche by the stepping stones may be dangerous if the burn is in spate, in which case head up on the north side of the burn and cross it just above the where tributary of the burn coming down from Coire Uaigneich meets the Allt na Dunaiche.
  • A well-worn path with a few short sections constructed by the John Muir Trust, continues up scree into Coire Uaigneich.
  • Further up and after passing two gullies on your right, a grassy area is met. At around c430m, look for an obvious worn path heading right (west) uphill , the bottom of which is sometimes marked with a cairn. Zig-zagging steeply through the grass at first, the going underfoot may well be wet and slippy if there has been recent rain.
  • The path turns northwards and grass gives way to rock and scree as the path comes and goes, splits and reconverges. Depending on which path you're on, you're likely to come to the bottom of a loose run of rock and boulders - though straightforward to ascend it's a bit of two-steps-up-one-step-down. Alternatively look to the right where a fainter path heads up some ledges, turns and takes a more solid route with some easy scrambling up a rocky funnel.
  • Higher up occasional cairns mark paths and the dark "Great Prow" comes into view at around c700m. Beyond this short col is reached with dramatic, vertigo inducing views off right, down into Coire Dubh.
  • The path swings left, then heads directly uphill with one last easy bit of scrambling as you top-out onto the final section of path, from where it's a straightforward walk for the last 50m or so of ascent to the trig point and cairn on Blaven's summit .
  • The views from here out to the main Cuillin ridge are outstanding.

Return to Loch Slapin »
  • Return by the same route. If you're expecting to be in mist, it's really easy to miss the turnings made going up, so a good idea to have noted key turning-points or cairns on the ascent.

Blaven's South Top »
  • From Blaven's summit, head south-west and pick up a worn path through stone and grass.
  • The crest narrows to a short ridge and reaches the col between Blaven's summits.
  • Beyond this, a brief, moderately tricky scramble (Grade 2) is required to continue. A direct ascent is possible, though looks rather tricky from below and there are alternatives slightly to the left (south-east) of the crest. None of these routes look particularly palatable in the wet !
  • Higher up there is a the cairn on the summit .
  • From Blaven's south west top, return heading down its south-east flank, on which there is a path for most of the way. There is some easy down-scrambling encountered occasionally on the route.
  • Ground levels out and a bealach at c590m is reached. Turn north-east into Coire Uaigneich and enjoy a fine scree run onto grass to rejoin the tourist path back to Loch Slapin.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Weather forecasts & webcams »

Route photos

On the path heading up toward Coire UaigneichOn the path heading up toward Coire Uaigneich
Near the Great Prow of BlavenNear the Great Prow of Blaven
Looking from Blaven's summit to the Cuillin RidgeLooking from Blaven's summit to the Cuillin Ridge
Clach Ghlas from BlavenClach Ghlas from Blaven
Blaven's south top viewed from the Munro summitBlaven's south top viewed from the Munro summit
Returning down having re-joined the path above Coire UaigneichReturning down having re-joined the path above Coire Uaigneich


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