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Scotland Coast to Coast


This is my account of a Coast to Coast walk across Scotland that Chris and I did between 24 May and 5 June 2007. 


You can also see my slide show here or on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=hPyDrJLZp_w.



















After last year's successful walk along Wainwright's Coast to Coast, Chris and I decided it would be a good idea to do another long distance walk.  One of my Christmas presents was "Trekking Atlas of the World" and the first page I looked at was Scotland Coast to Coast by Ronald Turnbull.  This gave us the idea.  It refers to The Great Outdoor Challenge and so we investigated further and found the TGO Challenge (http://www.tgochallenge.co.uk/), which is a continuous self-supported route across the Highlands from coast to coast every May.  We hoped to devise our own route in a similar way but independently and to meet the following additional self-imposed requirements:



The weight of our pack was about 30lbs, give or take a few pounds, depending on the amount of food we were carrying.  We booked all accommodation (apart from the two bothies) in advance and so we were committed to the route.  This included two short days and a rest day in Braemar.


The walk is extremely challenging because of the chances of wet weather and difficult terrain.  Stalkers' tracks can be very good, but paths are not always easy walking.  In some areas there is a difficult choice between open country and roads.  It is recommended for the fit and well-prepared!


A Scotland Coast to Coast at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

NB This is only a guide as it has a reduced number of waypoints. 

The original full set is available by e-mailing: webmaster(at)whitecottage.org.





Height climbed (feet)

Time (hours)


Place stayed



Fly to Inverness

Bus to Invershiel





Loch Duich View





Invershiel to Loch Cluanie




via Alltbeithe, Glen Affric

Cluanie Inn



Loch Cluanie to Glen Moriston




via Beinn Loinne

Riverside House, Ceannacroc


Glen Moriston to Fort Augustus




via Old Military Road




Fort Augustus to Corrieyairack




via General Wade's Military Road in Glen Tarff and over Corrieyairack Pass

Melgarve Bothy



Corrieyairack to Laggan




via General Wade's Military Road and Garva Bridge

The Rumblie



Laggan to Feshiebridge




via Glen Banchor, Newtonmore, Kingussie and Insh

March House




Feshiebridge to Glen Feshie




Glen Feshie

Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy



Glen Feshie to Linn of Dee




via Geldie Burn and White Bridge

Inverey Youth Hostel




Linn of Dee to Braemar





Clunie Lodge



"Rest day": bike & walk




3 Munros:

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Lochnagar, Carn a' Coire Boidheach

Clunie Lodge



Braemar to Clova




via Glen Callater, Jock's Road and Glen Doll

Glen Clova Hotel



Clova to Kirkton of Menmuir




via Loch Brandy, The Goet, White Hill and Hill of Glansie

Balfour Farm




Kirkton of Menmuir to Montrose




via Balnamoon, Little Brechin, Trinity, Kinnaird Park, Barnhead and Maryton

The Limes



Train to Edinburgh

Plane to Bristol








(excluding day 10)








We flew to Inverness and picked up a coach to Invershiel.  This dropped us off outside the B&B.  The B&B also has a llama treks business!  Kintail Lodge Hotel (www.kintaillodgehotel.co.uk) gave us a very good lunch and evening meal.




Day 1   Invershiel to Loch Cluanie


In the accustomed manner, we paddled in the sea at the start and at the end.  The first day was very wet all day and was very hard going.  It gave us a taste for what we had let ourselves in for.  We decided to go via the Alltbeithe Youth Hostel in Glen Affric rather up the road which would have been a lot quicker but not so wild or interesting.  It was necessary to cross the river by bridge rather than ford it because it was so full.  At the second pass we crossed, we saw hundreds of deer.  It was very disappointing to find that my new waterproof trousers that I bought for the trip were not waterproof at all.  I got wet in the first few minutes, which I had to put up with the whole day.  I have sent a claim to the manufacturers.  We came across the first of two aircraft crash sites we saw on the trip.  This one was a Wellington as documented here www.allenby.info/aircraft/affric.html.






We celebrated the end of the first day with a haggis and a malt, Talisker (www.scotchwhisky.net/distilleries/talisker.htm),

being the nearest distillery.


Day 2  Loch Cluanie to Glen Moriston


The second day brought very mixed, showery weather.  The visibility was excellent, but the showers were sleety at times.  I took my old GPS which was on its last legs, and it told me I was in Berlin at the start of the day.  It was not a great loss, then, when it dropped out of its holder on the hill somewhere above Cluanie!  If anyone fancies a secondhand Garmin Vista, there is one on Beinn Loinne.  The B&B that night was well-placed and served our route well.  We would have needed to rethink our route otherwise as there was no other accommodation at Ceannacroc.







Day 3  Glen Moriston to Fort Augustus


Our hosts at Riverside Cottage advised that we could get through to Fort Augustus via the Old Military Road.  This we did and it was a very good surface until we came out on the ridge.  We came across a ford where we both came a cropper, getting somewhat wet in the process of crossing it.  Fort Augustus was where we crossed the Great Glen and was the first of only two tourist places we came across (the other being Aviemore).  Sonas was easy to find and was very comfortable.  We ate at The Bothy (www.lochnessrestaurant.co.uk) after a short wait.  It is very popular and rightly so.




Day 4  Fort Augustus to Corrieyairack


We continued on a military road; this time it was General Wade's.  He obviously had a lot to do around here; it is a very long road and would have been very handy in its day.  It climbed for a long time to the top of the pass, from where it dropped very steeply.  At Melgarve Bothy where we stayed the night, there is a room called General Wade's office.  We are not sure if it was actually used by him or not but it is conceivable.






Day 5  Corrieyairack to Laggan


This was a relatively easy day, walking along the river Spey, but somewhat wet.  It was a good day for bird watching which was quite a feature on the whole trip.  In particular, plovers, lapwings and curlews were quite common and provided some entertainment and speculation.





The B&B at Laggan, The Rumblie, proved to be an excellent choice.  It prides itself with using local, organic and Fairtrade produce.  Our hosts explained the source of all the ingredients of our evening meal and breakfast.


Day 6  Laggan to Feshiebridge


After Glen Banchor, the route took us along roads via Newtonmore, Kingussie, Insh and Feshiebridge.  This was the longest leg and proved to be very wet all day.  We amused ourselves by considering alternative options which would have made day 6 and day 7 a more even split.  However, the main reason for choosing March House was that it gave us an opportunity for a short day on day 7, either for rest or for getting higher onto the Cairngorms without a full pack.  In the event, we needed the rest and the weather was too bad for a high level walk.  March House would have been difficult to beat as our host made us very welcome in her home.  March House is also available out of season for self-catering.  We met a Chinese and a South Korean student currently studying at Oxford.  The South Korean was with her daughter and parents.  It was very refreshing to hear them extol the virtues of the area even though the rain was incessant and visibility low.  They were very taken by the greenness of Glen Feshie, in contrast to their own homes.





Day 7  Feshiebridge to Glen Feshie


Our host at March House kindly took us to Aviemore for an opportunity to shop.  It was the first chance to buy some proper waterproof trousers. 

These were much better; they were more expensive but I suppose you get what you pay for.  Chris bought a GPS which he wanted at some stage.  Having lost mine on the second day, and finding a bargain in Blacks, he thought it was worth going for.  It proved very useful, especially on Lochnagar.  We took a bus back to Kincraig and walked to Feshiebridge.  In the evening, we walked the 8 miles to the bothy.  There were some interesting river crossings, one of which required us to take boots off.  It stopped raining just before reaching Ruigh Aiteachain bothy.  Queen Victoria has stayed at the nearby lodge of which a chimney is the only remaining part.





Glen Feshie is an ancient Caledonian Pine forest which inspired Landseer to paint his famous 'Monarch of the Glen'.



Day 8  Glen Feshie to Linn of Dee


This was another long day, but a very good one for weather.  The track along the river Feshie has deteriorated and vehicles have taken to fording the river to avoid landslips.  However, it is possible to keep to the same side on foot.  A bridge is required across the river Eidart near the watershed, which is a slight diversion and then it was downhill by the Geldie Burn across White Bridge and the Linn of Dee.  Several mountain bikes were seen which is a very useful way of getting into and out of the more remote hills.  This gave us ideas for day 10!  We were given a warm welcome at the very small Inverey hostel by the volunteer warden.  We thought we might have it all to ourselves, until an East German couple turned up on spec.






Day 9  Linn of Dee to Braemar


This was a welcome short day and we went off road as far as possible, following the warden's suggestions.  There were excellent views back to the Cairngorms.  The B&B in Braemar proved to be yet another winner.  It was an old manse next to a church.  Although they did not do evening meals, they made some very good recommendations for us: Braemar golf club and The Moorfield House Hotel (excellent). 




Day 10  "Rest day"


We had planned this as a contingency day for rest or for walking with a day sack.  We felt fit enough to hire bikes and climb Lochnagar and two other Munros.  We used the excellent mountain shop, www.braemarmountainsports.com, to hire bikes and they recommended the Loch Callater route, which is where we left the bikes.  Unfortunately, there was cloud on top and we could not benefit from the excellent views of Lochnagar that I had previously seen.  The two other Munros we climbed were Carn an t' Sagairt Mor on the way there and Carn a' Choire Bhoidheach on the way back.  We came across the wreck of an English Electric Canberra (see http://www.scotcrash.homecall.co.uk/site12.htm) on Carn an t' Sagairt Mor, the second of the two we found on the trip. 





Day 11  Braemar to Clova


We retraced out steps to Loch Callater and this time we went up Jock's Road into Glen Callater, over the pass and into Glen Doll.  This was very dramatic scenery, accentuated by the mist.  It seemed to take for ever to get to Glen Clova Hotel, which was well out of the forest.  Glen Doll looks a very popular spot for walkers and backpackers, judging by the cars parked in the car park and the minibuses disgorging large numbers of young people.





Day 12 Clova to Kirkton of Menmuir


The day started with a 2 hour climb to Green Hill above Loch Brandy.  Another long day seemed even longer because of the tricky route finding across farms near the end.  The walk along the hills became very difficult with peat and abandoned fence posts and wire.  We were given fleeting views of deer, hares and rabbits which came and went in the mist.  It was good to have another warm welcome at our farmhouse B&B, rather late in the day.






Day 13 Kirkton of Menmuir to Montrose


On our last day, we tried to minimise the distance as far as possible and keep off the roads.  After ruling out the disused and Caledonian railways, we achieved this to some extent by going through the estates of Balnamoon and Kinnaird Park (www.southesk.co.uk).  Montrose was an enigma.  There was no easy access to the beach and a very customer-unfriendly cafe.  However, the B&B was good and we had a nice meal and celebratory tot of whisky, Isle of Jura this time (www.scotchwhisky.net/distilleries/isle_of_jura.htm), in the evening at the Park Hotel.




The following day, we took a train to Edinburgh from where we flew back to Bristol.  In Edinburgh, we had time to walk down Princes Street and the Royal Mile.  We went inside the new Scottish Parliament (www.scottish.parliament.uk/home.htm) and saw part of a debate about hospital closures including the maiden speech of the new Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon.




On the flight, there were excellent views including Edinburgh, the Isle of Cumbrae and the Isle of Man.




All in all, this was a very successful walk.  Planning was very much key to the success and also very much part of the enjoyment.  Next year? - watch this space!







First Aid kit/medical:




TGO Challenge:




Route on which we based ours:



Chat forums (very useful and interesting):






Other links: