Beinn Udlamain from the east
|Summit:|| 3,317 feet NN579739 |
At 3,317 feet, Beinn Udlamain qualifies as a Munro. It is the highest of the Drumochter Hills, but not the most eye catching of the group, being flat topped and shielded from a clear view from the A9 road by the surrounding mountains, Sgairneach Mhòr and A' Mharconaich. The best view of the mountain can be obtained from the other hills around Coire Dhomhain.
The most common interpretation of the mountain's name from the Gaelic is "Gloomy Mountain" which comes from the word Ùdlaidh which means gloomy but can also mean secluded. Other explanations of the name put forward by mountain writers are "hill of the unsteady place" and "hill of the shaking".
Beinn Udlamain has a long north-south orientated summit ridge which stays above the 3,000-foot contour for over a mile. This ridge continues to the south to a col with a height of 2,654 feet which links to the adjacent Munro, Sgairneach Mhòr. In the opposite direction this ridge swings NE to link to A' Mharconaich, which lies w2 miles off.
Beinn Udlamain's slopes consist mostly of grass and heather with very little rock but they do drop steeply to the west towards Loch Ericht and to the east to the valley of the Allt Coire Dhomhain. On the northern side of the mountain are two grassy corries, the Glas-choire and the Fraoch-choire, which both drain NW into Loch Ericht.
The rolling topography of Beinn Udlamain and its adjoining peaks make it ideal ski touring country. The ski circuit of A' Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor is a classic route made popular by the close accessibility of the A9 road and the fact that the hills hold snow very well. Drainage from Beinn Udlamain goes to the east coast either through Loch Ericht or by the Allt Coire Dhomhain, both routes eventually join the River Tay.
Ascents and view
Beinn Udlamain is invariably ascended from the A9 road from near the summit of the Drumochter Pass at grid reference NN632755, which gives a starting altitude of 1,516 feet. From here the direct ascent goes up Coire Dhomhain to its head where the south ridge of the mountain can be followed to the summit. A complete round of all the peaks around Coire Dhomhain can be done from this starting point, including the two already mentioned Munros and the lower hill known as The Sow of Atholl.
The summit of the mountain is marked by a large cairn and wind shelter. The highlight of the view from the summit is to the southwest, where there is a fine view of a long stretch of Loch Ericht with the Ben Alder massif behind.
- www.clanmacrae.org. Gives meaning of Ùdlaidh.
- "The Magic of the Munros", Irvine Butterfield, ISBN 0-7153-2168-4 Page 76
- "Hamish's Mountain Walk", Hamish Brown, ISBN 1-898573-08-5 Page 155
- www.ski-telemark.co.uk. Gives details of ski touring.
- "The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland, Vol 1", Irvine Butterfield, ISBN 0-906371-30-9 Page 114 Gives mountain topography and some route information.
- "The Munros (SMC Guide)", Donald Bennett (editor) et al., ISBN 0-907521-13-4 Page 90 Gives mountain description, routes and translation as "Gloomy Mountain"