Ben Alder

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Ben Alder
Ben alder.jpg
Ben Alder from near Culra
Range: Alder
Summit: 3,766 feet NN496718
56°48’48"N, 4°27’55"W

Ben Alder is the highest mountain in the Alder range of the Grampian Mountains, and gives a name to the Alder range. It is the highest point in that remote area of the Highlands between Loch Ericht and Glen Spean. It stands in Inverness-shire.

The mountain's name is from the Gaelic Beinn Eallair, meaning "Mountain of rock and water".


The mountain reaches a height of 3,766 feet at its summit, and so it qualifies as a Munro. It is the 25th highest Munro, but due to its remote location it is one of the less frequently visited Munros.

Ben Alder has a vast summit plateau, on which lies one of Britain's highest tarns, Lochan a' Garbh Coire.


Ben Alder is to be found 12 mies from Dalwhinnie and 10 miles from Corrour railway station, it is commonly climbed in a two-day expedition, usually taking in its lower neighbour, Beinn Bheoil. There are two bothies near the mountain: Culra Lodge to the north-east and Ben Alder Cottage to the south, both potentially providing shelter for walkers in the area. Ben Alder Cottage is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a ghillie who hanged himself from the rafters.

If a mountain bicycle is used on, or permission is obtained to drive on the track along the north-west shore of Loch Ericht, Ben Alder is one of six Munros that a fit climber may be able to summit on a single late spring or early summer day.


Garbh Choire on Ben Alder, looking south

Ben Alder is one of the locations featured in the novel Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.[1] The main characters David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart are hosted by the clan chief Cluny Macpherson, fugitive after the Second Jacobite Rising, in one of his hiding places at Ben Alder.

The part of the novel about Cluny MacPherson is based on a true story; he really did hide out for an astonishing nine years on the slopes of Ben Alder, in a hiding place called 'the Cage', before escaping to France.[2] Prince Charles Edward Stuart briefly joined him there in early September 1746 whilst on the run after the failure of the Forty-Five.[3]

The "Man with no Name"

A man's body was found near the top of Ben Alder in June 1996, seated at the edge of a cliff face, overlooking a lochan, his heart pierced by an old-fashioned lead ball bullet, all the labels cut from his clothing and all forms of identification missing. He had a replica Remington .44, unsuitable slip-on shoes, an unnecessary three 1.5-litre bottles of water in his rucksack and £21 in cash.

It took a year and a half for the man to be identified as a missing Frenchman, Emmanuel Caillet, from Paris, last seen by his parents on 14 August 1995. Murder or suicide, as evidence suggested, is still uncertain.[4]

Outside links


  1. Robert Louis Stevenson (1983, first published 1886). Kidnapped. Harmondsworth: Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-035012-8. 
  2. Oxford DNB, 'Macpherson, Ewen, of Cluny (1706–1764)'; C. Duffy, The 45 (2003), p. 534.
  3. Duffy, The 45, p. 535
  4. Rafferty, Jean (5 January 2002). " – Death of a knight Errant". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 April 2010. 

Munros in SMC Area SMC Section 4 - Loch Linnhe to Loch Ericht

Am BodachAn GearanachAonach Beag (Alder)Aonach Beag (Nevis)Aonach MorBeinn a' ChlachairBeinn BheoilBeinn EibhinnBeinn na LapBen AlderBen NevisBinnein BeagBinnein MòrCàrn Dearg (Alder)Càrn Dearg (Loch Ossian)Càrn Mòr DeargChno DeargCreag PitridhGeal CharnGeal Charn, ArdverekieMullach nan CoireanNa GruagaicheanSgor GaibhreSgurr a' MhàimSgùrr Choinnich MòrSgùrr Eilde MòrStob a' Choire MheadhoinStob Bàn, Grey CorriesStob Bàn, MamoresStob Choire ClaurighStob Coire a' ChairnStob Coire an LaoighStob Coire EasainStob Coire Sgriodain