This challenging section features wild scenery and strenuous gradients. In good conditions, the Cairngorm views amply reward the challenge, but in poor visibility it demands good skills with map and compass, and in wet, stormy weather it is very exposed. Always consult a weather forecast before setting out, and follow the Mountain Code.

Although some people walk from Ballindalloch southward and arrange a lift or taxi back afterwards, it is worth considering taking a lift or taxi to Tomintoul and overnighting there, so as to walk back to Ballindalloch next day without time pressure.

North over Glen Livet from Carn Daimh North over Glen Livet from Carn Daimh © Jacquetta Megarry

Section summary

15.6 miles/25.2 km

Ballindalloch (former station)

Tomintoul (village centre)

Moderate gradients over two sustained climbs, Cairnacay (475 m) and Carn Daimh (570 m), then steep descent to Tomintoul

Mainly unsurfaced tracks and paths, often wet underfoot; high moorland, exposed and challenging in mist or snow

Varying surfaces and some narrow sections along valley and upland paths which can be challenging on the high exposed sections (up to 570 m/1870ft) during inclement weather. The Auldich to Deskie Farm section can be wet at times. Steep ground makes the ford of the Conglass Burn awkward for horses: instead you could reach Tomintoul by the minor road and turning right at the B9008.

Ballindalloch (offroute: garage shop, café inside Golf Club), Glenlivet Distillery café, Tomintoul (choice)