Featured Walk: Carn Daimh

I visited Tomintoul for the first time back in October 2013. On my first day, I set off from the hostel with the intention of walking over Carn Daimh, up to The Glenlivet distillery and circling back round. It quickly became apparent that that was not to be, after setting off a bit too late in the morning (enjoying the breakfast rather too much…), and walking a significant distance in the wrong direction not once but twice. You’d think that I’d learn not to insist on doing the map-reading and to stop trusting my ‘innate sense of direction’.

Finally I set off along the right track, Tomintoul’s Speyside Way Spur, at the northern end of the village. Knowing I was being pursued by a herd of cows that I had bumped into on one of my detours, I walked quickly through the farmland the path traverses, up a steep hill and over the road. Any competent walker should have no problem following the path, and if you get lost like I did, you can’t really complain about getting to see another aspect of the area’s beauty.


Once you follow the path over the first hill, the real Highlands spreads out before you – a wide open glen, few dwellings in sight, particularly stunning in the golden hues of autumn. The trail winds down into the glen and then up to the Carn and gets very boggy in places – watertight walking boots strongly recommended! A narrow wooden platform does however take you over the worst of it.

At the top of the Carn I found myself enveloped in silent, misty forest. I followed the sign pointing to Tomnavoulin and began heading down the other side. The path led me down through a beautiful valley, home to another herd of cows (unless the others had managed to outpace me… quite possible), and along one of the Smugglers Trails for a while to Tomnavoulin.


Though the village has a distillery of its own and is open to visitors by appointment (which can be arranged by The Smugglers), since it was now in the early hours of the afternoon I made the decision to head back, not wanting to be stranded on the heath in the late-autumn evening darkness. I retraced my steps back over the Carn to Tomintoul, and relaxed at long last with a pint and a burger!


It really is a beautiful walk and highly recommended to really get to know the area’s landscape. If you’re heading out make sure you have an up-to-date map (and the skills to interpret it) and are prepared for any emergencies. For a guide to a Carn Daimh walk, try Walk Highlands, or ask one of the Smugglers!


Comments are closed.

Main Street
AB37 9EX

Tel: 01807 580 364
Mobile: 07557 642 727