Loch Callater

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Auchallater Munros

Hillwalking route up Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and above Loch Callater

Tracing an old drove road through Glen Callater, this is a fairly popular route up Carn an t-Saigart Mor and can be extended to include several other Munro summits encircling the glen.

Route outline


Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, 

Cairn Bannoch, 

Broad Cairn, 


Tom Buidhe, 

Cairn of Claise, 

Carn an Tuirc

Walk ascent 850m (2780ft)
         distance 26km (16m)
         time 8:00hr
Bike ascent 190m (620ft)
         distance 10km (6m)
         time 1:00hr
Start/finish Auchallater
Grid Ref : N0156881
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

The route begins on an estate track tracing the course of "Old Jocks Road", a drove route between Glen Callater and Glen Clova. A mountain-bike will make quick and easy progress for the 5km along this section to Lochcallater Lodge. Beyond this and on foot, a fine but rough path takes over. leading uphill towards Carn an t-Sagairt Mor. Higher up the rolling hills and wide crests have faint paths to trace to Cairn Bannoch and Broad Cairn. The few defining features will test navigation skills in mist or white-out conditions.

The route could be extended to include Tom Buidhe, Tolmount and even Cairn of Claise and Carn an Tuirc. Some fence-posts will aid navigation, but in the main expect to be away from paths for much of the distance.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Auchallater

Bridge over the River Callater

Bridge over the River Callater

The A93 connects Perth with Aberdeen, passing through Braemar in Deeside. A couple of miles south of Braemar on a bend in the road and by the bridge over Callater Burn, is Auchallater farm. On the opposite side of the road there is a car-park with information board - there is a charge to park (£2.50 at time of writing).

2. Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

On Carn an t-Sagairt Mor's summit

On Carn an t-Sagairt Mor's summit

A Right-of-way sign points the way in up a fine estate track initially heading south-east. Walk or cycle up this track for 5km, crossing Callater Burn on a bridge on the way, to Lochallater Lodge. . If cycling, leave bikes here.

On a path, head around the lodge the north side of the lodge and begin hiking uphill. The path climbs directly uphill for just over 50m, then turns south-east and climbs more gently overlooking Loch Callater with views opening up southwards to Glen Callater and Coire Loch Kander.

The path begins to swing away from Loch Callater, and aims around Creag an Loch then begins up the northern shoulder of Carn an t-Sagairt Mor. At around c900m, you could continue on the gently rising path, but we left the path here and made a direct route through heather and some boulders up to Carn an t-Sagairt Mor's summit.

To the north-east of the summit is some scattered plane wreckage, including a large section of wing . These pieces are the remains of a Canberra jet that crashed into the hill in 1956.

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor's summit has two cairns (the southern one indicates the highest point) from where excellent views are to be had on clear days.

3. Cairn Bannoch

Cairn Bannoch from slopes of Cairn of Gowal

Cairn Bannoch from slopes of Cairn of Gowal

Beyond Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, there's very little ascent left ! Having left Carn an t-Sagairt Mor's southern cairn and on a faint path, aim south-east downhill. The path becomes more obvious as it loses height. The bealach between Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Cairn Bannoch is approached where terrain is more gentle and grass covered.

Cross the wide bealach, you may well meet up with folk coming in on the paths from Auchallater and Fafernie .

Cairn Bannoch comes into view and the last few metres of climb up to Cairn Bannoch's summit require a bit of clambering over some large boulders.

4. Broad Cairn

Braod Cairn from Cairn Bannoch

Braod Cairn from Cairn Bannoch

From Cairn Bannoch, head south-east and up the bump marked 991m . Nearby Cairn of Gowal can be bypassed as you hike downhill, south-east on a faint path over grassy ground to reach an unusual bealach with three summits of Cairn of Gowal, Creagan Dubh-loch and Broad Cairn radiating out from it.

A quick walk over more flat grass covered ground and one last clamber up bouldery ground gain's Broad Cairn's summit . Good views, particularly down Loch Muick and out to Mount Keen.

5. Return to Auchallater

Re-tracing steps back from Broad Cairn towards Cairn Bannoch

Re-tracing steps back from Broad Cairn towards Cairn Bannoch

From Broad Cairn, several options now present themselves !

You could return to Cairn Bannoch , then drop to the col below Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and pick up the path to re-trace your steps down to Auchallater Lodge .

Alternatively, after returning to Cairn of Gowal , aim directly for 'Old Jocks Road' at the col between Knaps of Fafernie and Crow Craigies. Follow this path down Loch Callater and back to Auchallater Lodge .

Or if you're feeling fit and the sun is out, why not continue westwards from the col between Knaps of Fafernie and Crow Craigies and bag some more Munros ? Tolmount , Tom Buidhe , Cairn of Claise and Carn an Tuirc can be hiked in a linear route, followed by a descent down Carn an Tuirc's northern shoulder to Lochcallater Lodge .

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Alternative and nearby routes »

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Ascent : 910m (2990ft)
Distance : 15km (9m)
Time : 5:15hr

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Time : 9:15hr

Munros above Jock's Road

Combining Driesh and Mayar with the Munros of Tom Buidhe and Tolmount to the north into one route makes for a delightful circuit over featureless grassy ground that will really test your navigation skills.

Peaks : 4 Munros

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Driesh and Mayar

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Ascent : 900m (2950ft)
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Time : 5hr


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