OverviewBeinn Dorain (translation: Hill of the Streamlet) is located in the very peaceful town of Bridge of Orchy. It stands at 3530ft/1076m and is No.64 in the Munro Heights.
Within the Bridge of Orchy Hills there are five peaks of Munro status. These are:
Beinn Dorain (pronounced Byn Doa-ran)
Beinn an Dothaidh (pronounced Byn Daw-ree)
Beinn Mhanach (pronounced Byn Vanach)
Beinn Achaladair (pronounced Byn Achalatu)
Beinn a' Chreachain (pronounced Byn a Chrech-yin)
Of the five peaks, Beinn Dorain is the one that will first grab your attention if travelling here from the south of Scotland. The beautiful site of its conical shape fills the horizon and is an awe inspiring site.
These hills are the hills of the Scottish poet Duncan Ban MacIntyre. MacIntyre, or Donnchadh Ban nan Oran (fair haired-Duncan of the songs) was born near Bridge of Orchy in 1724 and wrote passionately about the hills and corries that surrounded him. The following poem is very long so I have included only a couple of verses which I feel portray the peak:
Moladh Beinn Dorain (In praise of Beinn Dorain)
Honour beyond each ben,
for Beinn Dorain;
Of all I have seen beneath the sun,
the most glorious...
'O gladly in times of old I trod that glorious ground,
And the white dawn melted in the sun,
and the red deer cried around.
It has been known for walkers of the West Highland Way West Highland Way to add this Munro on route to their walk from Milngavie (on the outskirts of Glasgow) to Fort William (a distance of 152km/95miles).
From this range of mountains onwards the real beauty of the Scottish Mountains starts to hit you. Immediately north on the A82 road the Black Mount Range and Glencoe add to what The Bridge of Orchy Hills has to offer.
At the station take the underpass (please dont risk crossing the tracks instead as this may hinder your attempt at reaching the summit!). At the gate follow the path that leads to the left that will take you to the lower slopes of Alt Coire an Dothaidh. The path can be quite boggy at times and at points disappears and reappears, however it is obvious that you are heading towards the bealach between Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.
Once higher up the path crosses the small stream and from here the path steepens considerably until reaching the bealach. From here head in a southerly direction along the ascending path, passing a small lochan and upwards til reaching a fork in the path. Both paths lead to the summit.
The path to the right leads you along the shoulder of the mountain, past the summit above you. The path is faint at points, with splendid views or drops depending how you look at it. On going this way I couldn't decide whether it was better when I could see the drop or whether it was better when the mist was blocking it. The path eventually climbs back on itself and a small scramble leads you to the summit.
The path to the left leads up to the hills ridge. Follow this until reaching a cairn which is not your true summit, instead continue until coming to a dip and then up again to the summit this time.
Distance travelled - 4.5 Kilometers
Elevation gained - 890 Meters
Estimated ascent time - 3 Hours
Descend via the ridge. On reaching the bealach again you can choose to add Beinn an Dothaidh to your day. This time follow the path to the north ensuring you do not wander too far left into the steep and rocky ground. This peak has three summits and the one you want is the second one.
Distance travelled - 7.5 Kilometers
Elevation gained - 1140 Meters
Estimated ascent time - 4.5 Hours
Return to the bealach and make your way back down Alt Coire an Dothaidh to the railway station.
Approx round trip time: 5 to 7 hours.
Getting ThereIf arriving in Scotland and making your way to Beinn a'Ghlo then the best airports to arrive in are;
Car directions to Beinn Dorain from Glasgow and Edinburgh can be seen on the embedded map below. Click on the view larger map link for more detailed directions.
The train station at Bridge of Orchy is right at the beginning of the route up Beinn Dorain. Scotrail info link.
The nearest bus drop off from Glasgow and Edinburgh is also at the start of the route up Beinn Dorain, in Bridge of Orchy. Details can be found at Scottish City Link.
Red TapeThere is no red tape in Scotland due to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which incorporated the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This code, which commenced on the 9th of February 2005, has established statutory rights of access to land and inland water for outdoor recreation.
The Land Reform(Scotland) Act 2003
Scottish Outdoor Access Code
The following aspects should be taken into consideration when you are in the Scottish countryside;
- Seek local advice in regard to deer stalking or grouse shooting activities
- Ensure that all gates are closed behind you
- During the lambing season (March to May) ensure that all dogs are kept on a lead
- Please refrain from feeding or annoying any animals
- Limited parking space is available at the start of many routes, please ensure that you are not blocking a road and/or entrance
- Parking is provided at the start of some routes by the local farmers, it is polite to ask if you can use this facility
- Try to refrain from crossing fields with animals and/or crops if an alternative route is available
- Ensure that you treat the local environment with care by leaving it as you found it and by taking any litter home with you
- Any camp fires should be carefully watched and only used away from dense forest areas
AccomodationThe best place to base yourself for climbing Beinn Dorain is in Bridge of Orchy or its surrounding areas.
Bridge of Orchy Hotel
Tigh na Fraoch
Lodges & Campsites
Tyndrum By The Way
Pinetrees Caravan Park
Hostels & Bunkhouses
West Highland Way Sleeper
Wild camping is totally legal in Scotland and can be done in various locations close to Beinn Dorain. The Bridge of Orchy Hotel currently permits wild camping to the rear of the premises. This is due to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 that was mentioned earlier.
Here are some of the basic rules that should be adopted when wild camping;
- The larger the group, the harder it is to keep impacts to a minimum. Keep groups small.
- Camp as unobtrusively as possible.
- Remember that noise travels from tents disturbing wildlife as well as humans.
- Enjoy the freedom of wild camping without leaving a trace of your passage. Protect our country's outstanding scenery and wildlife as well as the wilderness experience.
- Camping on the same spot harms vegetation. Aim to move frequently and do not stay for any longer than 3 nights in the same place.
- Lighting fires poses a high fire risk on peaty soils and close to tinder dry grass. A high risk of fire can exist at any time of year, and not just in times of drought.
- Watercourses and loch sides are important sites for birds and animals. Take extra care when camping near burns and lochs, and try to avoid camping immediately beside them.
- Always find a spot at least 30 metres from fresh/running water when going to the toilet.
- Bury excrement in a small hole (not under boulders). A trowel or ice axe can be used to lift a flap of turf.
- Remove all litter (even other peoples!) Think ahead and only carry in what you are prepared to carry out.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland provides an invaluable leaflet providing a full breakdown of the do's and don'ts of wild camping in Scotland. Wild Camping, A guide to good practice.
Mountain/Weather ConditionsBeinn Dorain is accessible all year round however, as you can get four seasons in one day in Scotland, care should be taken at all times.
Maps and Books
Landranger map 50
OS map explorer 377,
The Central Highlands by Peter Hodgkiss.
Scottish Hill and Mountain Names by Peter Drummond.
The Munros by Cameron McNeish.
The Munro Almanac by Cameron McNeish.
Scottish Mountains on Ski by Malcolm Slesser.
The Scottish Peaks by W. A. Poucher.
The scenery of Scotland by A. Geike
Geology and Scenery of Scotland by J.B. Whittow
The Corbetts and other Scottish Hills by S. Johnstone, H. Brown & D.Bennet
External LinksVisit Scotland
Deer Stalking Scotland
The Scottish Mountaineering Club
Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland