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Beinn Dorain from the West Highland Way
Beinn Dorain from the West Highland Way
Country: Scotland.
Location: Bridge of Orchy.
Accommodation: The Bridge of Orchy Hotel has a bunkhouse. Camping is allowed just across the bridge (ask at reception).
Transport: Railway station at the Bridge of Orchy. The A82 runs from Tyndrum past Bridge of Orchy on its way to Fort William.
Maps: Landranger Map 0050: Glen Orchy & Loch Etive
Trip Date: 11 June 1993

The conical mass of Beinn Dorain ("hill of the streamlet", 1076m) is a familiar sight to travellers approaching Bridge of Orchy from Tyndrum along the West Highland Way (or the A82 road or railway). It hides the flat top of Beinn an Dòthaidh ("hill of the scorching or singeing", 1002m) until Bridge of Orchy is reached - the best viewpoint is from the other side of Loch Tulla. Both hills are easily climbed from Bridge of Orchy.


Cross the A82 from the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and head up to the railway station. Just before the station, an underpass takes you off the tarmac and onto the Old Military Road. Leave this immediately to turn left onto the lower moorland slopes of Beinn Dorain. A distinct path leads 100 metres to the left (NE) over wet ground to the south bank of the Allt Coire an Dòthaidh. It then climbs up eastwards beside the stream on drier ground. Higher up the coire the path crosses a small stream and then tends to a NE course to avoid some crags. The col at the top of the coire is gained via a climbing traverse south below a line of crags and then a straight pull to the col. There is a large cairn here.

Beinn an Dothaidh from Beinn Achaladair
Beinn an Dòthaidh from Beinn Achaladair (Beinn Dorain on the left)

To go to Beinn Dorain first, follow a path due south. This climbs easily up a rocky rib on the edge of a escapement to your right. After 200m climbed over the next 500 metres, the path reaches and crosses a small plateau containing a tarn. The ascent continues on the other side of the plateau up a broad grassy slope which becomes bouldery further up. A kilometre of walking brings you to a top (not the summit) with a large cairn. The summit is a further 200 metres on over a small 20m dip.

Return to the col along the ascent route. A narrow rocky path leads NNE over a small stream and then climbs up to the top of a line of crags where it becomes indistinct. Continuing the NNE course up the grassy and sometimes wet south slopes of Beinn an Dòthaidh will get you to the east top of the summit ridge. The highest point of the ridge is then 200 metres to the north with the West Top a few hundred metres further to the west. The West Top is the slightly better viewpoint since it hides the lower slopes of the mountains to the west from the summit. However there is no reason not to visit all three tops.

To return to the Bridge of Orchy, drop directly south from the West top to the top of the crags and pick up the path back to the col.

If you can arrange transport from Achallader farm then there are a couple of alternate return routes:
From the West Top, go west and then NNE along the west ridge of Coire Achaladair. There are some quite steep broken slopes to traverse at first but these lead to easy gradients as you descend to reach the path along the west side of the Allt Coire Achaladair. The path leads to a bridge over the railway just short of the farm.
From the east top, you can drop south down steep grassy slopes to a 'sheep track' on top of the line of crags above Coire a Ghabhalach. Turn left (east) along the crag and follow what track there is until you are above Coire Daingean. The col at the head of the coire is gained by an easy descent on grassy slopes. Go north down the stream until the lower extension of the coire (Coire Achaladair) is reached. About halfway down make sure that you are on the west side of the stream to pick up a path all the way to the farm.

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