Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch and Carn an t-Sagairt M/r

By Andy Crawford

Having read that walkers are spoilt for choice in Angus, with some of the finest glens in the country and the lovely Glen Doll, north of Kirriemuir providing the gateway to a number of Munros, Broad Cairn and its near neighbour Cairn Bannoch seemed an excellent choice for a day out, even with the long walk in, and with the possibility of a third 'bag' it made it all the more inviting. The first top, Broad Cairn (998 metres/3,274 feet) with its rough, bouldery summit and steep sided corrie leading down to the Dubh Loch does have more character to offer than its neighbour Cairn Bannoch (1,012 metres/3,320 feet) and it's also worth taking time to look over one's shoulder, eastwards, to view Loch Muick as height is gained. The third, and final top of the day, Carn an t-Sagairt M£r (1,047 metres/ 3,435 feet) is easily included and well worth the effort for the fine view northwards towards Braemar and eastwards to the mass of Lochnagar - Cac Carn Beag (1,155 metres/3,789 feet) and the many other Munros and tops. The summit slopes of Carn an t-Sagairt M£r are scattered with the wreckage of a 50 Squadron Canberra aircraft that crashed there in January 1956. The largest piece is a section of wing.

This route starts from the car park and picnic site at The Doll, crosses back over the bridge that leads to the car park then turns sharp left to head north along the track through the woods, ignoring the branch for the Capel Mounth, and through a gate - with an electronic visitor counter - beside the smallholding at Moulzie. Skirt around the buildings and continue straight on to reach the edge of another small plantation from where the path now goes to the left to avoid the very boggy inners of the plantation.

Follow the track and cross the water by the bridge (at GR: 278789) from where the path climbs gently towards Bachnagairn on a rough road. Negotiate a couple of flimsy stiles and gates that give access through the one-time electrified deer fences guarding a small wood and continue up the narrow path to reach a substantial wooden bridge across the burn. Continue on the recently refurbished and well maintained track up the hill to a junction near a wooden stable and fenced pen (GR: 256809) then head off left, in a westerly direction, to Broad Cairn - a nicely rounded cone with boulder strewn upper reaches.

Drop down from the summit and take the obvious track northwest onto Cairn Bannoch; about half an hour's easy walking. The descent and subsequent gentle ascent over the short grass and heather are barely noticed. Descend northwest from here to the bealach (at GR: 212836) then up the slightly steeper slope to summit of Carn an t-Sagairt M£r.

From the summit cairn, return to the bealach then bear more southerly to pass the cairn on Fafernie (1,000 metres/3,281 feet). Follow the path along the county boundary line to Knaps of Fafernie - a clutter of large boulders - then bear south-southwest from the head of the heather-clad Glen Callater to meet Jock's Road (at GR: 217805) and head south-southeast, past Crow Craigies and Cairn Lunkard, to the return to the start.


Distance 17.5 miles/28.2km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 44 or OS Explorer sheet 388.
Start/parking Car park/picnic site at The Doll (grid ref NO 285762) where there is a £1.50 all day parking charge.
Grading A long walk in to, over and out from, three Munros suitable for competent, adult hillwalkers and older children. There is no easy escape route if the weather turns nasty. Navigation equipment and proper clothing must be taken. For added safety, route cards are available and can be deposited in the box at the little hut in the car park. Walkers are also provided with a summary of the local weather forecast with wind speeds and temperatures on the summits. Remember to 'book out' again on return. Sheep graze the area so dogs should be kept on a lead.