An Cabar on Ben Wyvis

Ben Wyvis (and Little Wyvis) from Garbat

Hillwalking route to Glas Leathad Mor on Ben Wyvis

Ben Wyvis is the long and large 'whale-backed' mountain dominating the landscape north of the Black Isle. Its summit, Glas Leathad Mor, sits in the centre of the mountain's vast area, presenting many options to explore this wonderful mountain while bagging the Munro and its tops.

Route outline


Ben Wyvis


Little Wyvis

Ascent 910m (2980ft)
Distance 14km (9m)
Time 4:35hr
Start/finish Garbat
Grid Ref : NH409671
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Ben Wyvis, often referred to as Inverness's 'Ben' is a popular hill. The Forestry Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage own much of the ground and have improved the access to Ben Wyvis and enlarged the car-park. From what was once a wet peat path that winded up through the heather, there is now a wonderful well constructed path up the slopes of An Cabar.

But don't be led into a false sense of security by the obviousness of the path - the featureless whale-back summit plateau of Ben Wyvis can catch out even the most experienced hillwalker when their guard and the mist are down.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Garbat

Route up Ben Wyvis from Garbat

Route up Ben Wyvis from Garbat

North of Inverness, the A835 travels from Tore on the A9 to Ullapool. On this road, around 6km north of Garve and just south of the bridge over the Allt Bhealaich Mhoir, there is the Ben Wyvis car-park with its information board and has room for around 20 vehicles.

There is a height restricting barrier at the entrance to the car-park, therefore high vehicles will need to park just along the road in one of the lay-bys. Beware, in summer and autumn the midges here can be savage !

2. An Cabar and Glas Leathad Mor on Ben Wyvis

Erratic boulder at top of constructed path

Erratic boulder at top of constructed path

The path from the car-park travels northwards parallel to the road for a short distance to a footbridge over the Allt a'Bhealaich Mhoir. Cross the bridge, then turn right, head through a gate and start to climb on a well constructed path uphill following the course of the Allt a'Bhealaich Mhoir. Progress is easy up this, crossing a forestry track on the way after which views open up with much of the surrounding forest having been felled.

After around 2km, the track starts to level, the Forestry Commission land is exited and Nature Scot managed land is entered.

The contructed path continues eastwards a bit further, then turns northwards, before twisting and turning uphill. After a series of steps, the constructed path ends by an erratic boulder and a boot-worn path continues climbing, travelling towards the summit of An Cabar , where two small cairns sit, the second on this top's summit.

(An Cabar can be bypassed - when approaching this minor summit and reaching the 900m contour, a small cairn marks the start of a faint path which can be traced heading north-east. This travels just below the crest of Ben Wyvis for around 1km and around the bump of Carn a' Chaiptein).

Leave An Cabar's cairns and head north-east on a well-worn path as it progresses along the wide crest of Ben Wyvis. A gradual climb up and over Carn a' Chaiptein (cairn at spot height 980m), not long after which a sporadic line of old iron fence-posts can be seen and followed all the way to Glas Leathad Mor , Ben Wyvis's summit.

Ben Wyvis summit with Carn Chuinneag beyond

Ben Wyvis summit with Carn Chuinneag beyond

A trig point stands on Ben Wyvis's summit, partially protected by an encircling wall of stones and boulders. Standing isolated and with being the highest summit for some distance, the views from the top of Ben Wyvis in all directions are vast and clear.

Ben Wyvis summit with Carn Chuinneag beyond

Ben Wyvis summit with Carn Chuinneag beyond

3. Alternative ascent via Little Wyvis

Ben Wyvis from Little Wyvis

Ben Wyvis from Little Wyvis

Having followed the above route to the edge of the Forestry Commision land , cross the Allt a'Bhealaich Mor, which can usually just be jumped, then head south up thick grass and heather (pathless).

Reach the head of a track at around c630m, and cross it. A faint trod can be traced up to the bealach between Tom na Caillich and Little Wyvis, from where ruts of ATVs and some fence-posts travel to the summit of Little Wyvis .

To continue to Ben Wyvis, firstly return to the bealach, then turn and head east over easy ground to Little Wyvis's north-east minor top, Tom na Caillich . From here, keep roughly east - the crags marked on the map are easily avoided - then descend to the damp ground at the foot of An Cabar.

Head directly up to An Cabar, then up to Ben Wyvis's trig point on Glas Leathad Mor as described above.

4. Return and detour to Ben Wyvis's 'tops'

Glas Leathad Mor and Tom a' Coinnich from Glas Leathad Beag

Glas Leathad Mor and Tom a' Coinnich from Glas Leathad Beag

The easiest return route is to simply about-turn and re-trace your steps back to An Cabar, then back down to Garbat.

Simply bagging Ben Wyvis's summit Glas Leathad Mor doesn't take much effort on a fine day, so an enjoyable option is extend the route by staying up high and bagging the mountain's northern tops.

To do this, from the trig point on Glas Leathad Mor, head north-north-east downhill on a path over the wide expanse of Ben Wyvis's crest to Bealach Tom a' Choinnich . On the other side of the col, climb 50m up to the 900 contour, then continue north-north-east, bypassing Tom a'Choinnich and onto its north-eastern shoulder. Follow this wide ridge north-east to a col , then east as the ground gets slightly bouldery as the rate of ascent increases.

Climb up to a rise at c910m , then head over pleasant terrain to Glas Leathad Beag at 928m. If you want an even better view over Loch Glas, head a bit further to Meall nan Bradan Leathan.

Heading to Tom a'Choinnich from the east

Heading to Tom a'Choinnich from the east

Return for 3km and head up pleasant terrain to Tom a'Choinnich . From the small cairn on this summit, turn right (north-west) and head down a path zig-zagging through some scree to Carn Gorm . Now following a wall and on very bouldery ground, turn south-east to drop to heather, then to pick up a faint path following a burn into the forest. Pick up the forestry tracks to follow to the Allt na Bana-mhorair and down to the A835 near Garbat Farm, from where its a short roadside walk back to the car-park.

Heading to Tom a'Choinnich from the east

Heading to Tom a'Choinnich from the east

Route profile »

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Little Wyvis from Silverbridge

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Carn Ban and Beinn a' Chaisteil

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Time : 7:25hr

Strathconon Corbetts

North of Strathfarrar and Monar, Strathconon stretches eastwards towards the Black Isle. Above where Strathconon twists from south-west to east is a fine group of hills encircling the hidden loch of Coire Mhuilinn.

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Ascent : 1300m (4270ft)
Distance : 15km (9m)
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