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.
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.
The following aspects should be taken into consideration when you are in the Scottish countryside;
Lodges & Campsites
Hostels & Bunkhouses
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 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.
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