Carn Chuinneag from Glen Calvie

Carn Chuinneag from Glen Calvie

Hillwalking route up Carn Chuinneag from Glen Calvie

A delightful walk (or cycle) though the woodlands of Glen Calvie leads to the base of Carn Chuinneag, from where a stalkers track climbs to the twin summits of this distinctive Corbett.

Route outline


Carn Chuinneag

Ascent 780m (2550ft)
Distance 16km (10m)
Time 5:20hr
Start/finish Road end in Strathcarron
Grid Ref : NH464891
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

This route begins from the end of the public road in Strathcarron, west of Ardgay and takes estate tracks to the foot of Carn Chuinneag. Thereafter stalkers paths ease access up to this little hill's summit crest, from where fine views can be had from the twin tops.

The route to the foot of Carn Chuinneag through Glen Calvie is 4km and on a fine estate track - perfect for cycling on (a hybrid-bike will easily cope with the track surface).

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Strathcarron

Gorge on River Carron

Gorge on River Carron

North of Inverness, the A9 heads over the Black Isle to the Dornoch Firth, at the head of which is Ardgay. A narrow road heads westwards from this village, at the end of which is a turning area by the entrances to Glencalvie Estate and Alladale Wilderness Reserve.

By the turning area there is limited parking for a few vehicles. If full, there are several roadside laybys on the road approach.

2. Glen Calvie

Carn Chuinneag from Glen Calvie

Carn Chuinneag from Glen Calvie

From the parking area, cross the road and head downhill to a bridge over a river. As a small detour, heading westwards (signposted) for 500m or so, a path leads to the lovely little waterfall of Eas Charron.

Follow the road as it passes a magnificent tree house, heads around Glencalvie Lodge and passes some houses before heading into birch woodland by the Water of Glencalvie.

Now on an estate track, follow the track as it progresses southwards through woodland, crossing the Water of Glencalvie . Through a gate and out of most of the woodland, the western summit of Carn Chuinneag comes into view ahead.

After a further 3km on the track, the track swings eastwards, by which is a small untidy cairn marking the start of a stalkers path heading uphill.

3. Carn Chuinneag

On Carn Chuinneag's summit looking to Ben Wyvis

On Carn Chuinneag's summit looking to Ben Wyvis

The stalkers path heads up the shoulder of Carn Chuinneag's western peak. It's grassy and soggy in bits as it twists a route up the steep side of A' Chioch. There's a little respite before the path hits screes, then zig-zags uphill.

The path levels out and comes to a junction with a cairn - turn sharp left (north-east).

If you're like me, you'll be wanting to get to the top of both peaks, therefore you'll need to leave the path and strike directly up the fall-line over heather and some boulderfield to aim for the westerly summit . The top of this is quite rocky, a bit reminiscent of Ben Avon, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The route to the main summit from the westerly top is pathless but straightforward, simply aim eastwards, dropping around 50m on a wide bealach, followed by a gentle climb as you try to keep to grass-covered terrain.

Carn Chuinneag's main summit is a rocky place where a trig point stands partically protected by a circular dyke. Fine views in all directions !

4. Return

Descending the stalkers path on Carn Chuinneag

Descending the stalkers path on Carn Chuinneag

From Carn Chuinneag's summit, begin to retrace your steps north-westwards. Instead of turning westwards to the wide bealach, keep north-westwards and descend downhill where you'll meet up with the path again , around 1km east of where it was left.

Follow the path westwards around Carn Chuinneag's westerly summit to meet up with the junction . Retrace your steps back to the estate track below A' Chioch and return through Glen Calvie to the roadside.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

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