Carn Mor above Scalan

Carn Mor from Scalan

Hillwalking route up Carn Mor in the Ladder Hills

Starting and possibly finishing at different points, this linear route discovers some interesting past lives and histories while bagging a heather-clad Carn Mor, north-east of the Lecht Ski Centre.

Route outline


Carn Mor

Ascent 450m (1470ft)
Distance 6km (4m)
Time 2:15hr
Start Scalan
Grid Ref : NJ274201
Finish Lecht Mine
Grid Ref : NJ234152
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The line of the Ladder Hills travel from the Lecht north-eastwards above Glenlivet, with Carn Mor being the highest point on this range. With Carn Mor's summit being just over 150m above the Lecht Ski Centre, most people will head up the hill from there, but this is a rather tedious hike over featureless terrain.

This route, which starts from The Scalan in Glenlivet and heads over Carn Mor and the high ground of the Ladder Hills to The Lecht, adds interest by visiting some lonely remnants of past lives and histories.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Scalan

The Scalan below Carn Mor

The Scalan below Carn Mor

North-east of Tomintoul, the B9008 travels over moorland and through Glen Livet toward Bridge of Avon in Speyside. On this road, 7km north-east of Tomintoul, Auchnarrow is reached, where a narrow road heads south-east to the Braes of Glenlivet.

Driving down the narrow road with passing places for around 5km reaches Chapeltown and the Braeval Whisky distillery. Shortly thereafter, the public road ends by a turning circle aside a rather tired farm building.

A sign points the way up a rough potholed track to a parking area where there is room for around 10 vehicles, by a large information board provided by the Crown Estate.

2. Carn Mor

View from a grouse-butt, looking to Ben Rinnes

View from a grouse-butt, looking to Ben Rinnes

From the car-park, follow the track as it contunes south-east around a plantation (much of which has been devastated by storms) and over farmland towards the old College of Scalan . Well worth having a nebb around, this was not only a farming community up until the early 2000's but was also where a secret seminary stood where Catholic priests were trained in the 1700's.

At the back of The Scalan, a dilapidated gate stands under some trees - head over this gate and follow a fence and some old draining systems uphill. The fence meets with another fence crossing its path - through a gate, turn left and follow the fence for around 500m north-east until you meet with a line of grouse-butts heading up Carn Mor's north-west face.

A faint path can be traced connecting these butts, above which pathless heathery ground is climbed for a further 100m or so. The ground levels and a small lochan is met, ahead is the final push up Carn Mor with a path to follow.

Approaching Carn Mor's summit

Approaching Carn Mor's summit

On Carn Mor's summit a lonely trig point stands exposed to the elements.

Approaching Carn Mor's summit

Approaching Carn Mor's summit

3. Lecht Mine and alternatives

Lecht Mine

Lecht Mine

From Carn Mor, follow a worn footpath travelling south-westwards along its crest. After around 1km, there's a slight rise up to a minor top, Monadh an t-Sluich Leith , followed by a drop to a shallow bealach where options present themselves.

A fine option if transport can be arranged, is to beging by aiming due west which leads down into Coire Buidhe, where a faint path can be picked up and followed above the west bank of a burn to Lecht Mine . A path then leads southwards to the roadside around 3km north of the Lecht Ski Centre.

Alternatively, from the bealach hike south-west to pick up a line of fence-posts. Tracing faint paths and trods aside these posts will end up on top of a moderately steep grass and heather clad descent directly to the Lecht Ski Centre.

By Clash of Scalan looking to Corryhabbie Hill and Cook's Cairn

By Clash of Scalan looking to Corryhabbie Hill and Cook's Cairn

To return to Scalan from the bealach, turn north-west and travel along more high ground for around 1km. Meeting with some cairns, then drop to the Clash of Scalan , where a signposted route leads via Wester Scalan to The Scalan and back the car-park.

By Clash of Scalan looking to Corryhabbie Hill and Cook's Cairn

By Clash of Scalan looking to Corryhabbie Hill and Cook's Cairn

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Corryhabbie Hill from Glenlivet

Right-of-way, estate tracks and sign-posts make for a fairly easy route up Corryhabbie Hill and Cook's Cairn. Combine them into one outing and there's a bit of off-piste bounding over heather to enjoy !

Peaks : 1 Corbett and 1 Graham

Ascent : 930m (3050ft)
Distance : 24km (15m)
Time : 7:25hr

Carn Ealasaid from the Lecht

Starting from a height of the 635m by the Lecht Ski Centre, a fairly easy and short hillwalking route can be made over grass and heather to Carn Ealasaid.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 300m (980ft)
Distance : 7km (4m)
Time : 2:15hr

Ben Rinnes from Glen Rinnes and Dufftown

This route up Ben Rinnes begins from the Glack Harnes col and is a straightforward up-and-down following a track and well-defined footpath. The Ben Rinnes Hill Race extends the route further by starting from Dufftown.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 530m (1740ft)
Distance : 8km (5m)
Time : 2:45hr

Brown Cow Hill from Corgarff Castle

Fine estate tracks lead to a delightful hillwalk on wide crests above Corgarff with fine views to Ben Avon to the west and Morven to the east.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 600m (1970ft)
Distance : 19km (12m)
Time : 5:45hr


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