Beinn Chabhair, Beinn a’ Chroin and An Caisteal
These Munros are often tackled separately with Beinn Chabhair being hiked as one and Beinn a’Chroin and An Caisteal both together. I decided to do all three in the one hike seeing as they are so close together. I also thought Chabhair looked like quite an uninspiring walk so decided to set off to try and get to the top for the sunrise. This is the first sunrise hike I’ve done in Scotland and certainly won’t be the last!
The summit of Chabhair offered some amazing views which made the slog up well worth the effort. You get an incredible vista of the rolling peaks around Loch Lomond, especially to the north/northeast.
- Munros Climbed
- Getting There
- Duration & Length
- Where To Stay
- The Hike
- Alternative Routes
- Nearby Munros
- To Conclude
- Beinn Chabhair – 933 metres (3061 ft) – pronounced BAYN-HOER
- An Caisteal – 995 metres (3264 ft) – pronounced AN-
- Beinn a’Chroin – 942 metres (3091 ft) – pronounced BAYN-A-HROYN
Read this if you want to find out more about Scotland’s mountains!
Heading north, stick to the A82 towards Crianlarich. About 5 miles before Crianlarich there’s a layby opposite Derrydaroch farm. Park up here if you’re planning on doing the three Munros. You can see the location on the map below.
If you want to do Beinn Chabhair on its own then park up in Inverarnan which is 3 miles south of Derrydaroch.
Likewise, if you’re planning on doing An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin then there’s a layby about 2.5 miles south of Crianlarich.
From Derrydaroch farm there’s a clear track for the first 1.5 miles where it’s time to veer off and climb up the pathless hillside to the
The slog between Beinn Chabhair and Bealach Buidhe is the toughest part
Coming down Beinn Chabhair is a steep walk down heading northeast towards the Bealach Buidhe. The walk to the
Duration & Length
Duration: 7 – 10 hours
Length: 11.3 miles (18.18 km)
This is my route as recorded on the Viewranger App
If you’re just doing Beinn Chabhair then it’ll be around 5 – 7 hours, An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin will be around 6 – 8 hours.
Crianlarich Youth Hostel (4.5 miles from starting point)
Ben More Lodge (3 miles from starting point)
Inverardran House B&B (2.5 miles from starting point)
The Crianlarich Hotel (1 mile from starting point)
By The Way Hostel and Campsite (5.5 miles from starting point)
Continue along the forestry track for about a mile until you reach a big iron gate. There’s a path around the gate and its soon after here I decided to start ascending the hillside.
It’s getting a bit brighter
You can wait until a bit further along where the track ends if you so wish but sooner or later you’re going to have to start ascending towards Chabhair. I felt that the route I chose looked less steep.
This section wasn’t much fun (especially for me because it was pitch dark, I was trying to get up for the sunrise). It was very boggy and there isn’t really much of a path until you get up to Garbh Bhealach.
Mossy climb up to Garbh Bealach
The sun was starting to push through as I got to the Bealach
From here you head east and there’s quite a well-defined path up to the summit of Beinn Chabhair. It is winding and steep in some sections but shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge to get up to the summit cairn! There are plenty of false summits and humps to keep you guessing all the way to the top.
Views from the top of Beinn Chabhair are stunning on a clear day. It’s especially beautiful to the south looking over Loch Long, and to the east at Lochs Doine and Voil.
Sunrise from the summit was spectacular
Now because this isn’t a route with a defined path, the going gets quite tough soon after you descend the summit of Beinn Chabhair. It’s vitally important here that you follow your map/GPS closely.
Head briefly south along the Beinn Chabhair ridge before heading directly east towards the two remaining Munros. It’s up to you exactly what route you take down Beinn Chabhair –
Those little white dots are sheep…in the middle of nowhere!
I found this part to be a real slog and it was extremely boggy. There were also dozens of sheep – it always amazes me how you can find them in even the remotest of locations!
Continue to zigzag your way northeast towards the Bealach Buidhe which is where you’ll rejoin the path. The main bummer about this part of the hike is that you’re descending over 1000 ft before the climb up to the
Once you make it to Bealach Buidhe there’s a clearly defined path, continue to the right along the path and towards the summit of Beinn a’ Chroin.
There is one remaining steep bit of climbing where you find yourself clambering up the buttress of Beinn a’ Chroin. There’s a small bit of scrambling but nothing too difficult.
This is the toughest (and only) scramble of the hike
Once you reach the plateau it’s a simple case of following the winding path over to the summit. There are actually 3 cairns up here and I decided to walk to all of them just to be sure I had reached the top. I think technically the second small cairn is the highest point but most hikers head all the way to the end. You’re again rewarded with some stunning panoramic views.
Panoramic views from Beinn a’ Chroin
Now to reach the third peak of the day head back on the same path, carefully descending the buttress and onto the Bealach Buidhe. From here, it’s a short hike up the rocky hump to the summit of An Caisteal.
At this point, it had clouded over for me but the views from here are equally as impressive.
Descend down what’s known as the Twistin Hill, directly to the north of the summit. This is a relatively steady descent. For hikers doing just the two Munros, you will keep going along Sron Gharbh and back down to the car.
Looking down the aptly named Twistin Hill
Because I had started further west (to incorporate Beinn Chabhair), I had to head west slightly earlier. I chose the best looking part of the slope to veer directly off the Twistin Hill and head directly east towards Derrydaroch farm.
The first part is again pathless and quite a steep descent so watch your footing! I went pretty much straight down until I reached the Allt an Doran river. Follow this for a short distance and you’ll come on to a forestry track.
Follow this track back to the car!
This track links onto the one you start the day on and it’s around 1.5 miles back to the main road (and layby where your car is parked).
The more familiar way is to tackle Beinn Chabhair on its own (due to its location). Hikers tend to park at Inverarnan and tackle the mountain from its west side (as opposed to the northwest which is what I did). This is another boggy approach and doesn’t incorporate any loop or horseshoe.
The other two mountains are An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin. These are normally taken on from the north and the conveniently named Twistin Hill. This ridge walk takes you over the top of An Caisteal and on to Beinn a’Chroin. As opposed to coming back the exact same way, you can keep going north at the summit and head down its grassy ridge.
If you’re a keen Munro bagger set on climbing as many mountains as possible then I would definitely recommend this route. If you’re just looking for a relaxed and fairly straightforward day out in the hills then I would recommend doing either Beinn Chabhair or An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin as separate hikes.
I got to the top of Beinn Chabhair just as the sun was rising and I was presented with some of the best views I’ve had to date. I would thoroughly recommend a sunrise hike if you know the weather is going to be clear!