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Beinn Bhrotain

Beinn Bhrotain.   Photo: Scott Muir

The remote Coire Cath nam Fionn is the main attraction of this mountain, offering 3 very obvious gully lines on Bheinn Bhrotain, and the potential for some interesting skiing on the face below Leac Ghorm on Monadh Mor.

Getting there

The easiest approach is from the Braemar side, cycling from Linn of Dee to White Bridge on the land rover track. Cross the bridge, and take the path on the South side of the river.   It contains numerous drainage ditches, but they are all pitched in a way that allows you to ride through them on a decent mountain bike.   Bikes are usually left at the stream crossing at NN997897. Beyond that, the path is less bike friendly, and it is not worth the effort on a bike with skis on, but it is up to you!. You have various approach options from this point:

  • From leaving the bike at NN997897, you can head up over (or round) Carn Cloich-mhuilinn and onto the top. Quite rough going.
  • Instead of cutting uphill, continue walking up Glen Dee, until a fork in the path by a very small cairn at NN986914.  This path crosses the Allt Garbh and follows the North side of it.  It is initially a well made path, but reverts to eroded heather before long, crossing back over the Allt Garbh higher up,   Not long after the manufactured path ends, you may find the going relatively easy up the ridge that leads to the 1108m Eastern top of Beinn Bhrotain,  If on foot, this would be the driest option.  If on ski, heading up the Allt Garbh and into Coire an t-Sneachda may be best.
  • The longest approach is to continue North up Glen Dee, and then round into Glen Geusachan, approaching the corrie from below.  The path undulates a fair bit as it rounds the headland separating the glens, and can be a bit boggy, but has the advantage of allowing you to assess conditions from below.  Locating the top of the gullies can be tricky as well, so in poor visibility, this approach would be best.

As mentioned, care is required locating the top of the gullies from above, as they lie part of the way down a convex slope. 

If you are feeling like you have some energy after skiing on the steeper runs, and are returning to Linn of Dee, the descent down the Allt Garbh is highly recommended as a shortcut to the trudge out of Glen Geusachan, as it holds snow well late in the season.

Relevant Weather Forecasts

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Relevant Avalanche Forecasts

There are 2 Scottish Avalanche Information Service forecasts worth considering for Beinn Bhrotain.

A Minus Gully is the longest, but least defined of the 3 main gullies.  It is more of a small hanging corrie than a defined gully.  It has a steep rocky wall on the skiers right, and an easier angled ridge on skiers left.  This provides the easiest angled entry point.   The angle soon mellows once in the gully, but it is overall quite easy for a Grade I gully. Lower down, the snow runs into a debris channel, which should extend the skiing out of the main gully line.  Overall, it feels more like skiing an open slope, rather than a gully.

The obvious dogleg of A Minus Gully.  Photo: Scott Muir
Coire Cath nam Fionn from the North, early May 2014  Photo: Scott Muir
Looking down the gully, mid-May 2014  Photo: Scott Muir
The top of A Minus Gully, mid-May 2014.  This is the steepest section, and as you can see, it's not very steep.  Photo: Scott Muir
Coire Cath nam Fionn  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NN956927

Approximate Start Height: 1100m

Approximate Descent: 250m

General Aspect: NNW

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: Easy for Grade I
 

A Gully is the slightly twisting parallel line to B Gully. Generally wider than B Gully, with only a couple of narrow sections, it is again, quite easy for a Grade I ski. The entrance is as easy for the grade as you could wish for, with little cornice issues. As with B Gully, be aware of debris in the gully, and low down, there may be a slab of ice on the right hand side of the gully. Both gullies hold snow well, but the scarp slopes below A Gully do not hang onto the snow quite as well as those below B Gully, so bear that in mind if you are flying out of it late in the season!

A Gully  Photo: Scott Muir
Heading up A Gully, 3rd April 2011  Photo: Scott Muir
Coire Cath nam Fionn from the North, early May 2014  Photo: Scott Muir
Top of A Gully, April 2011  Photo: Scott Muir
Coire Cath nam Fionn  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NN954927

Approximate Start Height: 1090m

Approximate Descent: 240m

General Aspect: NNW

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: Easy for Grade I
 

This near enough perfectly straight slot is a fine companion to A Gully, and holds snow equally well. As with A Gully, it is well seen from below, or from Monadh Mor. Although fairly narrow, this is a relatively easy ski for grade I. The easiest entry is from skiers right. Be wary of angular lumps of rock in the gully following a thaw.

A Gully to the left, B Gully to the right.  Photo: Scott Muir
Descending B Gully, April 2009  Photo: Scott Muir
Descending B Gully, April 2009  Photo: Scott Muir
Coire Cath nam Fionn from the North, early May 2014  Photo: Scott Muir
Coire Cath nam Fionn  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NN952927

Approximate Start Height: 1070m

Approximate Descent: 220m

General Aspect: NNW

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: Easy for Grade I
 
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