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How to climb The Cairnwell, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh

Rising up above the ski slopes of Glenshee are the Cairngorm Munros of The Cairnwell, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh, three of the easier Munros to bag, and joined together make for a great day out in the hills. Otherwise known as the Cairnwell Munros, here is how to climb The Cairnwell, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh. 

How to climb The Cairnwell 

The walk up The Cairnwell starts from the Glenshee Ski Centre (£). The usual route to climb the three Munros is by heading up the steep front of Carn Asoda (917m), before heading out to the wilder Càrn a’ Ghèoidh (975m) before finishing on The Cairnwell (933m) and then returning to the carpark.

Start by climbing up the front of Carn Asoda, following the path between the ski lifts. The path starts steeply before reaching a junction with a sign post directing you up the hill’s short summit ridge.  The climb up is a short one – and your first Munro of the day is done. 

The Cairnwell Munros - view of Glenshee
View from Carn Asoda

Your next destination is Càrn a’ Ghèoidh, so descend back down the ridge and continue on past the route you have just climbed up. You will drop down to Loch Vrotachan before climbing up once more. The path takes you over a number of small minor summits and the Càrn nan Sac plateau. There is a cairn on the summit of Càrn a’ Ghèoidh at 976m.

To complete the three Cairnwell Munros, return back to the bealach at Loch Vrotachan before kneading south to climb up the flank of The Cairnwell. The top has a fantastic view down to Glenshee, but the summit is scarred by lots of telecommunications equipment. The return to the car park is via the bealach again, before joining the path back down to the cafe in Glenshee.

View from Carn Asoda
The Cairnwell Loch Vrotachan
The Cairnwell Càrn a' Ghèoidh

The Cairnwell, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh  route maps

How long does it take to climb The Cairnwell? 

With a reasonable level of fitness, the walk up this Munro will take around 6 hours from the roadside, although I’d leave around 5 -6 hours + for the full walk. Climbing the Cairnwell on its own will take 2-3 hours, the same for Carn Asoda. 

Best time to climb The Cairnwell, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh?

Scotland’s weather is best in May and September. Don’t attempt climbing The Cairnwell  in winter unless you have winter gear and experience. For weather forecasts, I recommend you check out:

For those experienced in winter conditions, and with winter gear (ice axe, crampons and knowledge of how to use them) The Cairnwell is a great winter hill. 

Càrn a' Ghèoidh
The Cairnwell

How hard is it to climb The Cairnwell?

The total ascent of all three munros (when climbed as, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh and The Cairnwell) is only 595m – much less than a usual single munro – making these munros some of the easier hills to bag in Scotland. 

Whilst these are easier Munros, don’t climb The Cairnwell up expecting a wee trip up Arthur’s Seat. You will need hill walking gear and be prepared for the weather to change in a heartbeat – mist, fog and rain can sweep in quickly. If you haven’t hill walked before, have a look at my beginners guide to hillwalking in Scotland – and make sure you have means of navigation in the mist and fog! 

The Cairnwell
The Cairnwell

How to get to The Cairnwell, Carn Asoda, and Càrn a’ Ghèoidh

Parking for The Cairnwell is at The Glenshee car park. The charge to park at Gleshee is £5 for the day for cars. You can pay by coins or buy online. There are 1200 spaces, a cafe and toilets.  

Love, from Scotland x 

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