Carn na Saobhaidhe

Carn na Saobhaidhe from Strathdearn

Biking and hiking route to Carn na Saobhaidhe

Route taking a cycle along Strathdearn to the heart of the Monadhliath wilderness, followed by a hike over moorland to Carn na Saobhaidhe above the many turbines of Corriegarth windfarm.

Route outline


Carn na Saobhaidhe

Walk ascent 180m (590ft)
         distance 6km (4m)
         time 1:45hr
Bike ascent 450m (1470ft)
         distance 24km (15m)
         time 2:00hr
Start/finish Coignafearn, Strathdearn
Grid Ref : NH711181
easy hard
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This route to Carn na Saobhaidhe approaches through delightful Strathdearn following the River Findhorn. Fine estate tracks pass Coignafean Lodge and reach to within 2km of Carn na Saobhaidhe's summit. A bike is recommended to reach this point, thereafter on foot, much bounding over heather, peat and grass is called for. Navigation, particularly in mist, will be very challenging.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Coignafearn

Coignafearn at the head of Strathdearn

Coignafearn at the head of Strathdearn

Strathdearn, through which the River Findhorn flows, lies south-west of Slochd summit on the A9, halfway between Aviemore and Inverness.

The unclassified road travelling down Strathdearn is single-track with passing places. It's around 15km from the jucntion with the old A9 and for the last few kms becomes very narrow while hugging the west bank of the River Findhorn.

At the end of the road is a parking area with sufficient room for around 10 cars. Beyond this, a private estate track heads deeper into the Monadhliath wilderness.

2. Bike to Allt Odhar

The Allt Odhar and Carn na Saobhaidhe

The Allt Odhar and Carn na Saobhaidhe

Leave the car-park at the end of the public road and head towards some buildings. Over a bridge, past various estate buildings and house and head south-west down the very linear estate track.

After 1km, there's a split in the track - the track off right is the end of the alternative return route.

Keep following the main track as it follows the course of the River Findhorn past the huge (and rather ugly in my opinion) Coignafearn Lodge to the small house at Dalbeg .

The track becomes grass-covered by Dalbeg and splits - take the right fork and follow it uphill. For the next 2km, there's some serious hill climbing - so if you've not got thighs of steel, an electric bike, or are willing to get off and push, best to leave bikes near Dalbeg.

Just above Dalbeg, there's a bridge over the Allt Creagach which gives a view of a waterfall on the Allt Creagach. Around 500m further on there's a junction - keep to the main track (ie left). A further 1.5km of uphill, the track comes to another junction .

Turn left at the junction and head over a wooden bridge. The track becomes considerably rougher as it travels for another 1.5km to its end by the Allt Odhar.

3. Carn na Saobhaidhe

Dunmaglass Windfarm from Carn na Saobhaidhe

Dunmaglass Windfarm from Carn na Saobhaidhe

If conditions are clear, from the end of the track, look directly ahead and on the skyline you should see the mast on Carn na Saobhaidhe. You could aim directly for this (as I did on my first approach from Strathdearn), but it is an unpleasant trudge over heather, bog, peat and grass-tussocks.

I've since found it's much more pleasant to run an anti-clockwise circuit. To do this, head north, then north-west to Carn Mhic Iamhair, on route the terrain is much more pleasant. There's a rock marking this minor summit's top .

From this minor summit, drop wnw for 500m to reach the top of a bulldozed track . This ugly track gives a flavour of the approach from Dunmaglass ! After hiking down this track for 200m, you'll come to a junction , turn left and follow the track up towards Carn na Saobhaidhe.

Carn na Saobhaidhe's summit is marked by a small cairn. There are fairly expansive views from here north and north-west, but the windfarms in these directions impact on any feeling of Monadhliath wilderness.

4. Return

Coignafearn Lodge

Coignafearn Lodge

To return, I'd recommend heading south-west to the mast on Carn na Saobhaidhe, then picking up a line of fence-posts to follow southwards for 1km to peat-hag bealach .

At the bealach, turn left (east), then trace the Allt Odhar over heather, moss and grass back to the head of the track . Pick up your bike and retrace your route back to the car-park.

Alternatively, upon reaching the wooden bridge by the Allt Creagach, turn left for some exploring of Coignafearn !

A decent track climbs up 100m, then drops the same to a junction by the Allt Choire Shauilegaich, from where turn left and bike for a further 1km to another junction , on the way encountering sections of track that have been eaten by the bog and burn !

Biking for 1.5km more, leads to a junction (turn right), then after another 2km, one last junction is met (turn right again).

A final descent by the Allt Calder begins - this is a lovely section of the route ! After crossing a ford (perhaps difficult in spate) and heading through some woodland, the main track in Strathdearn is met , from where a cycle of 1km leads back to the road end.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Other maps :
Explorer 417
GPX file(s) :
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Always carry a decent compass.

Information on maps and GPX files is on this page.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Gairbheinn and Meall na h-Aisre

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Ascent : 900m (2950ft)
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Time : 6:45hr

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Time : 9:50hr

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Ascent : 680m (2230ft)
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Peaks : 1 Corbett

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Time : 4:50hr


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