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Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe


Postby laconic surf » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:53 pm

Munros included on this walk: Tolmount, Tom Buidhe

Date walked: 04/09/2012

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1081m

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I decided to do this pair via Glen Doll and Jock's Road rather than the WH route via Loch Callater because the published route is a long, long trek and also because I have always wanted to walk along the infamous Jock's Road. The road is noted as being an important part of the history of Scottish access rights when the landowner blocked access along the ancient route to keep the glen as his own private shooting area. Supported by the Scottish Rights of Way Society, Jock Winter challenged this and asserted his right to walk along the route. The case went all the way to the House of Lords before the route was finally declared a right of way in 1888.
I set out from the Glen Doll car park, past the lodge until I reached the turn off for Jock's Road. This can be followed all the way to Braemar, a route I would like to complete at some point.

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Start of the walk

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Into the forest



The beginning of this path is through some lovely forestry before a gate is reached and the glen can then be seen in all its glory.

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Glen Doll


The walk up through the glen is stunning, especially in the great weather I was having (at last :lol: )

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Looking back at the forest


Just as I was enjoying the sun and the walk I popped up in front of Davy's Bourach, a stark reminder of what this route can be like in horrendous conditions. I remember hearing the story of what happened here back on New Year's Day 1959 a while back and being up there where it occured was pretty chilling. Five members of the Glasgow Hiking Club left Braemar YH to walk up Glen Callater, over Tolmount and onto Glen Doll where family members would wait at Glen Doll YH to pick them up. However, conditions deteriorated and a snow storm blew for 2 days cutting off the roads and the areas only phone line so there was a huge delay in organising the rescue. Temperatures registered -19.5 degrees. On Jan 4th they found the first body below Craig Maud in Glen Doll. It was the thaw at the end of February that revealed 3 others, whilst the final man wasn't discovered until April. The Howff was built by Davie Glen in 1966 so the area would at last have some shelter.

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The Lunkard "bothy"

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The lodgings


Beyond the shelter I somehow managed to lose the path, I remember seeing a cairn which in retrospect probably signalled the path gaining height up the side of Cairn Lunkard. For some reason I ignored it and headed into the peat hags instead :roll: After trudging through this for a while and putting my foot through a hidden fissure and taking a gash out of my hand, I got the map out. I realised I was at the wrong height and had wandered off the path. I headed up towards Crow Craigies and eventually met back up with Jock's Road. MWIS had forecast 50-70 mph winds but up until now I hadn't seen much of it but away from the protective sides of the glen, I certainly felt it now :shock:

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First view of Tolmount

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View over the gorms



After the summit of Crow Craigies I headed west and began the climb up the side of the Tolmount. This was covered in mountain hares bolting in all directions. From the top of Tolmount I had a wonderful view towards Glen Callater with its Loch in the distance.

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Summit of Tolmount



The wind was so strong at this point that I was having to lean into it to avoid being blown off the cliffs :crazy: You know what happens to somebodys face on a rollercoaster because of the g-force? That's what it felt like. My cheeks and mouth were about 5 inches to the right of where they should have been :lol:
Not wanting to hang about I dropped down off the summit to a ruined shelter - the walls were too low to offer much protection but it was a handy place to hold on to while I refuelled. Scoob999 if you are reading this, this was the shelter you missed. Incidentally, I also thought I heard rutting stags like you did but then a bird flew off out of the undergrowth, not sure what it was but the sound definitely originated from there. Didn't see any bears though :wink: :lol:
Onwards now to Tom Buidhe, a clear path to follow until it disappeared briefly into an area of easily traversable peat hags. Picking the path back up led to an soft undulating track to the summit of munro number 2.

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View to Tom Buidhe

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Summit of Tom Buidhe



From here I had to re-cross the glen over an area of heavy peat hags. I contoured around Meikle Kilrannoch keeping above the worst of the hags until I could pick out a line of attack heading towards the White Water. Making it down to the burn I found a nice place to cross, picked my way through some more peat until finally joining back onto Jock's Road and headed back towards the main part of Glen Doll.

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The White Water

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Just before I reached the shelter, I noticed this on a nearby boulder - I must have walked straight passed it on the way up...

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Now it was just the pleasant walk down to the forest and back to the car. A poignant but beautiful day out despite the wind speed - i'd take that over the clag anyday :D Much as I enjoyed climbing the two munro's this was one of those days where the walk outshone the climb. A highly recommended alternative route to tackle this pair.

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laconic surf
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby mrssanta » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:34 pm

that was a nice report with some interesting history, thanks. and the pictures aren't half bad either
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby hills » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:34 pm

Lovely, fair enjoyed that, recently did these from Callater, it aint too bad using a bike.
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby gammy leg walker » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:35 pm

Mmmmmm,might be the way for me to go.
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby yellowbelly » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:47 pm

Wot, no rain? :lol: And some views too :o
Well done Luc, nice report and photos.
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby basscadet » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:14 am

Oh it has been pretty windy.. At least the sun was shining for you :)
These were the first two munro's of my round back in August 2010.. I walked from Glen Doll, right over to Braemar via these two in very similar conditions.. Fond memories rekindled thanks :thumbup:
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby monty » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:41 am

That was a great read LS. One of your best reports. :D Some great photos and an excellent route too. :D
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby Sabbathstevie » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:25 pm

Great report Laconic, thanks for sharing! I love the long drive up the ever narrowing glen Clova to reach Glen Doll and will happily take any excuse to revisit so will probably also do these two from this end however might ascend round the other side of Craig Mellon to give a circular route! Great to have a point of reference! :)
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby laconic surf » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:25 pm

mrssanta wrote:that was a nice report with some interesting history, thanks. and the pictures aren't half bad either


Thanks Mrs Santa :D


hills wrote:Lovely, fair enjoyed that, recently did these from Callater, it aint too bad using a bike.


Cheers hills.


gammy leg walker wrote:Mmmmmm,might be the way for me to go.


Its definitely a good way to tackle them if your after a shorter day out and is still a very picturesque route 8)


yellowbelly wrote:Wot, no rain? :lol: And some views too :o
Well done Luc, nice report and photos.


Unbelievable eh Hugh :lol: The first time i've actually seen the Cairngorms cloud free :D


basscadet wrote:Oh it has been pretty windy.. At least the sun was shining for you :)
These were the first two munro's of my round back in August 2010.. I walked from Glen Doll, right over to Braemar via these two in very similar conditions.. Fond memories rekindled thanks :thumbup:


At last no rain :thumbup: Can't imagine it will last too long though :lol: Would definitely like to complete the route some time - would love to do it when the snow is down but the skys are clear...


monty wrote:That was a great read LS. One of your best reports. :D Some great photos and an excellent route too. :D


Very kind, cheers Monty :D


Sabbathstevie wrote:Great report Laconic, thanks for sharing! I love the long drive up the ever narrowing glen Clova to reach Glen Doll and will happily take any excuse to revisit so will probably also do these two from this end however might ascend round the other side of Craig Mellon to give a circular route! Great to have a point of reference! :)


It's just a great all round trip, such a beautiful glen. Like the sound of your circular route - post it up once you get it done :D
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby meangarry » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:54 pm

A good wee history lesson LS. Every day is a school day! :)
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby macq23 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:01 am

Really enjoyed this report...in fact I think I will do this route for my next walk! :-)
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby LeithySuburbs » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:25 pm

A route I have always fancied - cheers for that :D .
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby ChrisW » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:00 pm

Great report LC, I did these two from Glenshee almost a year ago to the day....it was a bogfest :lol: Never thought of hiking the length of Jocks road when I lived in Banchory....now I really wish I had :roll: Enjoyed this, cheers :D
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby rockhopper » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:22 am

Looks a good way to approach these hills compared to the normal approach - interesting historical points as well - cheers :)
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Re: Jock's Road to Tolmount and Tom Buidhe

Postby laconic surf » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:36 am

meangarry wrote:A good wee history lesson LS. Every day is a school day! :)


There'll be a test later :lol:



macq23 wrote:Really enjoyed this report...in fact I think I will do this route for my next walk! :-)


Good luck with it - just remember to turn right at the cairn to avoid wet ankles :shock:


LeithySuburbs wrote:A route I have always fancied - cheers for that :D .


Cheers - well worth a stroll out


ChrisW wrote:Great report LC, I did these two from Glenshee almost a year ago to the day....it was a bogfest :lol: Never thought of hiking the length of Jocks road when I lived in Banchory....now I really wish I had :roll: Enjoyed this, cheers :D


Funnily enough I had considered tackling these from Glenshee but was unsure of the ground conditions - glad I talked myself out of it :lol: Cheers Chris


rockhopper wrote:Looks a good way to approach these hills compared to the normal approach - interesting historical points as well - cheers :)


Cheers Rockhopper - I often look to see if there is a lazier way round :lol:
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