Braemar Hillwalking Weekend

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!

Braemar hillwalking weekend walking along Jocks Road

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.

Rucksacks Bunkhouse Braemar hillwalking weekend

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!

Information board and map at start of Jocks Road

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.

Walking at the start of Jocks Road

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.

Bridge over Callater Burn walking along Jocks Road

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.

Braemar hillwalking weekend beginning of climb to Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

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.

Here we are looking back down at Callater Loch lodge where we turned off Jocks road to begin our ascent.

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.

Looking back down to Loch Callater

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.

Halfway up Carn an t-Sagairt Mor Thermos coffee stop and view.

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.

Looking towards the head of Glen and the route of Jocks Road

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.

Climbing upwards on the well kept path.

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!

Close up of the well made repaired path

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!

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor RAF English Electric Canberra 1956 crash wreckage.

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.

Following fence posts up close to summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

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?

Braemar hillwalking weekend me at the summit of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

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 is the summit of Lochnagar.

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!

Walk along the white mounth plateau

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.

Braemar hillwalking weekend summit of Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach

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.

Braemar hillwalking weekend dinner at The Lodge Braemar, Haggis balls deep fried with mash and whisky sauce.

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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  1. Ah, those views are all stunning!! What a wonderful “hillwalking” adventure to take!

    • says:

      Such an amazing day it just had to be shared. So many photos taken, it took me ages to decide on which were the best ones to tell the story because I loved them all.

      Thanks Rebecca. 🙂

  2. You didn’t lie when you said those views are stunning! I am making it my aim to go on more walks like this next year, taking baby with us of course.
    The accommodation looks great too and I wish that was my kitchen at home haha

    • says:

      Oh that sounds like a plan Dannii. I remember my mum used to walk my brother and I everywhere. That’s probably why I love it so much myself!

      Isn’t the kitchen amazing! I love it too. It reminds me of the hotel I used to work in, when I was a student, in my kitchen porter days. Ah, those easy fun days……. 😉

  3. Good gravy, that place is amazing. And I love the Bunkhouse! I would totally want to stay at a place like that!
    I know I say it every time, but the terrain and topography that you encounter is just so incredible to me. And I love that little farm and house! Having read the memoirs of the nurse in the Hebrides, this just helps me picture her adventures. Thank you!

    • says:

      You are welcome my friend. I love to share the beauty that Scotland has to offer with everyone! And I know that you especially feel a personal kind of connection to the place.

      Hopefully we’ll see you guys here one day eh? And I could even take you to the Rucksacks Bunkhouse to stay and we’d have a glass of local beer (or two 😉 ) in the Lodge! 🙂

  4. Wow Neil, I feel like I am looking in a National Geographic magazine – our photos are fantastic! And wow – those views! So surreal! So stunning! Those pictures of Callater Loch Lodge and Loch Callater and of and from the summit of Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach are gorgeous! Y’all sure covered a lot of miles and I don’t judge you for enjoying a treat for dinner – any chance you will recreate that Ferrero Rocher cheesecake here? 🙂
    Shashi @ RunninSrilankan recently posted…Broth & Salsa Flavored Salmon Burgers with Turmeric QuinoaMy Profile

    • says:

      Thank you Shashi! I’m so glad you like the photographs, and if National Geographic are reading and wish to commission me to add some more, then I wouldn’t turn them down. 😉

      Mike and I have done a lot of hillwalking together and we have certain days that have very special memories of because of the weather and just how fabulous the day was. This has become one of those days.

      Yes, funny that. The Ferrero Rocher cheesecake idea has been added to my “Recipes to make?” list. Maybe one day…… 🙂

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