I’d been looking forward to this Braemar hillwalking weekend for weeks. I wasn’t disappointed. A fantastic weekend was had with glorious weather, two Munros, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach summitted and some great food enjoyed too. Check out this recap of the weekend with stunning views!
Mike and I normally try and schedule at least one Braemar hillwalking weekend every year just because there’s so many amazing hills to climb and the scenery is amazing.
Not only that, the village of Braemar has some really nice places to eat and drink. It’s a great place to visit or stay for a short break.
There’s plenty to choose from in the way of accommodation. Hotel’s, guest houses and B&B’s are available, but we always prefer Rucksacks bunk house. It’s self catering with shared cooking facilities (above), private dorms and excellent facilities.
It took roughly 3 hours to get from Glasgow to Braemar. That included leaving my car at Mike’s in Stirling so we just take one car. We both managed to get half day’s off from work to be able to drive up on a Friday afternoon avoiding the worst of the traffic.
On arrival at the bunkhouse we unpacked and cooked a typical Scottish traditional supper of stovies giving us plenty of carbs as fuel for our next days planned walk.
Braemar hillwalking weekend
Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach
After a hearty (again typically traditional meal – keeping in the spirit of things 🙂 ) breakfast of porridge we set off for the starting point, arriving at 0930.
The starting point is only a 20 minute drive to a car park near Auchallater Farm from our base in Braemar, and it was nice not to have to get up too early!
Incidentally, the starting point for our day is also the West starting point for Jocks Road. We walked part of the East section of Jocks road previously, which I wrote about in the Jocks Road to Davy’s Bourach post.
It’s a 3 – 4 mile walk along Jocks road to where we leave the road to start our climb. This initial part, as you can see above, is pretty flat but still provides a good “warm-up” for the remaining 10 miles round trip.
Above, we stopped for some shots at a bridge over the Callater Burn (and this is where I captured the video in the previous zucchini pasta cashew stir fry recipe) taking in the magnificent scenery and enjoying the peace and quiet, all but for the sound of the flowing water.
At the end of this stretch of Jocks Road, and just before Callater Loch Lodge, we took a left turn off the road to begin our
slog climb of the two Munro’s (mountains over 3000 feet) Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach.
Looking back down at Callater Loch Lodge (above) Loch Callater is now also also in view.
The main building of the lodge is for shooting and stalking parties from the estate. Next to that is Callater stable which is now a walker’s bothy. The bothy is maintained by volunteers from the Mountain Bothy Association.
Jocks Road continues along the near side of the loch for the rest of the 15 miles to Glen Doll. It takes about a day to walk. We’ve done that walk a couple of times before. You can carry camping gear too, if you wanted to split the walk into two days, camping somewhere in the glen.
This further up view looking back down at Loch Callater shows some of the stalking paths in this area. These are tracks made for Landrovers to be able to access areas where the grouse would be. And you can still just make out Callater Loch Lodge.
A quick cup of coffee, from the Thermos flask which had been freshly brewed a couple of hours previously, and a stop to enjoy the view was welcoming at this point, halfway up Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.
Even at this time of year, looking towards the head of the glen, and this stunning vista, there’s still the remnants of the winter snow on the summits. There used to be places where the snow would never melt, but with global warming all the snow now melts around this time of year, until the winter snow falls start again.
Onwards and upwards. I often talk in these posts of how many of the most popular paths are now maintained to avoid erosion on the hillside. This is another one of them.
In fact, volunteers now pay, to spend their summers helping to look after these mountains for generations to come. Rain, hail, snow or shine, AND with no guarantee of what kind of weather you might be working in!
Both Mike and I were really hot, and as you can imagine pretty sweaty at this stage. Not only was it a stunning day with wall to wall sunshine, but there was literally no wind at all to keep us cool. Compare that to the last hillwalking post, Ben Vorlich where we were battered by stinging hailstones!
The Scottish mountains are filled with all sorts of history. From Celtic battles amongst the clans to the Jacobite risings, there are many story’s that each mountain could tell you if it had a voice.
Carn an t-Sagairt Mor doesn’t need a voice, just the remains of this RAF English Electric Canberra aircraft to tell you about this sad episode in its history, of when in 1956 this aircraft crashed near the summit killing both airmen on board. The wreckage still lies strewn about the hillside as a permanent memorial to this tragedy.
We followed the old fence posts up the rest of the mountain. Victorian land owners were so obsessed with marking out their land boundaries that fence posts like these are found all over the Scottish Mountains, even in the most bizarre places. Can you imagine trying to hammer those posts into this stone ground?
And finally we reach the summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, our first Munro. Someone has sought to decorate the cairn with parts of old fence post. I guess at least it helps to clear up any dangerous debris around the top of the mountain, and have it all safely in one place.
Looking North from the summit you can see the summit of Lochnagar.
There will be another Braemar hillwalking weekend this year and it will be with Lady Lynne in early August! It could be that we climb that Munro then. We’ll have to wait and see. Weather permitting and all that!
And so from the summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor we set out walking over the top of the extensive White Mounth plateau to the next summit of Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach.
Fortunately there really isn’t any more climbing to be done, just a drop off Carn an t-Sagairt Mor then a more gentle rising walk to our next destination.
And so finally at about 1.30pm we reached the summit of Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach.
Looking Northwards from here are the steep crags of “The Stuic” overlooking Loch nan Eun, an area popular with many rock climbers.
We hadn’t met anybody else when we were climbing our first Munro of the day, but this second Munro was busier mainly because it’s one of the 5 White Mounth Munros, of Glen Muick that can be done in a row if you get a good day, plenty of daylight and have between 9 – 11 hours to spare.
I’d have quite happily taken a little nap in the sun at the top, but seeing as I was pretty much through all my water and hadn’t brought nearly enough for the day (me bad 😳 ) it was time to take the next 3 hours descending to get down to the cool waters of the Callater Burn for a fresh as you can get it cold drink of water.
And when we got there. I needed that water. I must have drunk about 3 litres in total.
Having made it back to Rucksacks bunkhouse for about 5.00pm, that gave us plenty of time to get cleaned up and showered and ready to head out for an evening meal at the Braemar Lodge.
Now don’t judge me, but I had those haggis balls deep fried with potato mash and whisky sauce, above, for starters, then game pie for mains and to top it all off Ferrero Rocher cheesecake for pudding. But seeing as I’d walked 7 hours, burning an average of 430 calories per hour I think on this braemar hillwalking weekend I’d earned that don’t you? 😉
Well folks, thanks for your time in reading this. A new curry recipe is coming up on Thursday, but in the meantime if you’d like to read more hillwalking adventures, then check out my other hillwalking posts.
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