Carn a' Chuilinn

Carn a' Chuilinn from Glen Doe

Biking and hiking route up Carn a' Chuilinn from Glen Doe

Biking through Glen Doe up hydro roads into the Monadhliath, leaves a short distance on foot to bag the summit of Carn a' Chuilinn.

Route outline


Carn a' Chuilinn

Walk ascent 270m (880ft)
         distance 5km (3m)
         time 1:45hr
Bike ascent 465m (1520ft)
         distance 15km (9m)
         time 1:00hr
Start/finish Glen Doe
Grid Ref : NH401090
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Following the rough road for the Glendoe hydro scheme and Stronelairg Wind Farm, a bike can be used to get within 3km of Carn a' Chuilinn's summit. On foot thereafter, some ATV tracks can be followed for a fair distance, leaving a mere 2km of navigation to reach the summit cairn.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Doe

Above Fort Augustus

Above Fort Augustus

The route begins from Glen Doe near the picturesque village of Fort Augustus which is situated at the southern end of Loch Ness.

On the southern side of the Caledonian Canal locks in the village, there is a junction on the main A82 with the B862. From here the B862 heads south around Loch Ness and climbs uphill.

Around 3km out of the village is the entrance to Stronelairg Wind Farm. Although there doesn't seem to be any objection to heading through this entrance, unfortunately the parking area opposite is blocked off and alternative parking needs found - I parked around 500m back down the road in a lay-by with designated parking spaces.

2. Biking up Glen Doe

Leaving bike in Glen Doe

Leaving bike in Glen Doe

If you have parked as I did, at the southern end of the layby, there is a gate, head through it and join a cycle/pedestrian trail that climbs uphill parallel to the road. The trail climbs north-east for 200m then turns south around a forest. Through a gate, the trail turns east and meets up with the estate track .

Be aware that construction and maintenance traffic use this road and there was a fair amount of this on my last visit.

The route follows the track for the next 6km, as it climbs gently a height of around 400m. Seen ahead for most of the route, Carn a' Chuilinn's crest is in view, the summit being the small bump on the right (west).

The route crosses the Allt Doe around halfway, then not long after a second crossing a further 2km onwards, the track does a switchback , aside which there is a turning circle - I left my bike here.

3. Carn a'Chuilinn

Approaching Carn a' Chuilinn summit

Approaching Carn a' Chuilinn summit

Leaving bikes behind, some faint ATV tracks can be followed up a gentle slope through deer-grass aside the southern bank of the Allt Coire an t-Seilich.

After around 1km on from the turning circle, the ground begins to level and the tracks cross the upper reaches of the Allt Coire an t-Seilich via some dilapidated wooden planks before the tracks disappear into the grass.

Ahead Carn a'Chuilinn can be seen, however, I chose to aim for the minor summit marked 781m first. Through grass, its pathless all the way, but worth the effort as upon reaching this minor top, a fine of Carn a' Chuilinn is presented.

Head west from the minor top for 300m or so, there's then a slight drop before a climb up grassy slopes onto Carn a' Chuilinn's crest at its north-eastern end. Turning south-west, hike along Carn a' Chuilinn's crest for around 1km, occasionally weaving between rocky lines and tiny lochans.

Carn a' Chuilinn's summit is gained where a large cairn rests. Superb views from here, particularly westwards.

4. Detour to Glendoe Eagle and return

The Glendoe Eagle

The Glendoe Eagle

Return to your bike by the turning area and switchback , then cycle uphill on the hydro road. The twists and turns in the road have an almost alpine feel (ok, maybe Bealach na Ba) !

The road reaches a height of 750m then turns southwards. 1km further on by a sharp bend in the road, a wooden post indicates the start of a path heading south-west. This path, a bit damp in bits, heads around a bump and after 300m on from leaving the roadside, meets with the Glendoe Eagle statue - a thanks to the people who worked on the Seileach Dam.

Back to the roadside - retrace your route, it's a fast descent !

5. Alternative route via Glen Tarff

Glen Tarff

Glen Tarff

The first time I aimed up Carn a' Chuilinn I couldn't get on the Glen Doe road (probably due to the dam being constructed, but I can't remember why). So instead, I aimed in from Glen Tarff.

Glen Tarff is lovely, more picturesque than Glen Doe, and particularly beautiful in October with the autumnal colours.

This route starts from the unclassified road just west of the bridge over the River Tarff where a right-of-way sign indicates various directions. Through overgrown woodland, a path took me to Culachy Falls , then up out of the woods onto General Wade's military road - the route to Corrieyairack Pass.

Around 6km into the hike , I dropped down into Glen Tarff where I briefly met a track, then crossed the River Tarff . Initially climbing steep slopes on the other side of the river, no paths were found for the hike up Carn a' Chuilinn's south-west flank and up to the summit .

On the return I stuck more on the track just above the River Tarff as it snaked a route through woodlands. Back at the Falls of Culachy once more, I re-traced my steps back to the roadside.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Recommended map :

OS Landranger 34,
Fort Augustus
Other maps :
Explorer OL55
GPX file(s) :
Download GPX
of route
Always carry a decent compass.

Information on maps and GPX files is on this page.

Weather forecasts »

Alternative and nearby routes »

Gairbheinn and Meall na h-Aisre

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Peaks : 1 Corbett

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