Tolmount /Jock's Road
Key information: Tolmount /Jock's Road
- An ancient drovers’ road crossing the high hills between Ballater and Glen Clova.
- Grand and beautiful scenery: glacially scoured glen to high moorland, low broken peaks, beetling crags and purple hillsides, teeming with precious wildlife and rare and delicate plants.
- Walkopedia rating86
- Natural interest17
- Human interest6
- Negative points0
- Total rating86
- Length: 26km
- Maximum Altitude: 900m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
Jock’s Road is an old droving route linking Deeside to the rich lowlands of Angus, from Braemar to Glen Clova (or vice versa) along which cattle would be driven from their highland homes to the markets of the lowlands. It is said by the excellent www.walkhighlands.co.uk to be “the most famous of all Scottish rights of way”. It still has a certain atmosphere, and you can mull on the lives (and, up here, hardships) of those who followed the track.
The track was a right-of-way test case in the late 19th century when Jock Winter walked it to keep it publicly open. It had to go to the House of Lords before he won his case (it apparently bankrupted the Scottish Rights-of-Way Society). It was a major step in preservation of one of Britain’s walking glories – its rights of way.
Grand and beautiful scenery: glacially scoured glen to high moorland, low broken peaks, beetling crags and purple hillsides, teeming with precious wildlife and rare and delicate plants.
The modern route leaves the main A94 road to climb steadily on a good track up superb Glen Callater to its beautiful eponymous lake and on up its magnificent flat-bottomed valley between glacier-scraped flanks and textbook corries. The flat ridges behind it reflect its hole-in-plateau status.
The track then climbs steeply up the glen-end wall onto high granite plateau-moorland to the south-east. The trail here is now “less used than at any time since prehistory” in the Cicerone’s apt words. Way-finding isn’t straightforward. You head south east to cross just below (north east of) the summit of Crow Craigies (just a Munro – worth a diversion for an easy ‘bag’), and on down a long ridge to head of deep and splendid Glen Doll for a final thrilling descent, on the section that is actually called Jock’s Road on the map, among the crags of the glen-head and on to join Glen Clova.
This is a remoteish walk in mountains, with always unpredictable weather. It has cost numerous people their lives. Come prepared, and be properly equipped, even more so in winter. The trail is occasionally faint on the high ground, so you need to exercise care and only to attempt the route in poor weather or low cloud if an experienced route-finder.
A very satisfying walk indeed. It is possible you will meet no-one once you have got beyond Loch Callater.
SEE OUR CAIRNGORMS PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING PRACTICALITIES) ON AND OTHER GREAT WALKS IN THE AREA.
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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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