Walk: Fungle & Firmounth - ancient Cairngorms highways

Aberdeenshire | Forest of Birse | Full day walk | ★★★

[Forest of Birse]

The Fungle and the Firmounth are just two of several ancient highways criss-crossing the vast bulk of the Cairngorms. These once-important trade routes have long since fallen out of use but old inscribed stones line the sides of both drove roads. The Tinker's Cairn is one such place. Apparently it marks the spot where a tinker murdered his wife during passage across the hills here - look out for the inscription W.E. 1814. Also look out for St Colm's Well near Gannoch summit: besides its water source, it has its own carved message and also marks an ancient parish boundary. These human influences amidst seemingly desolate terrain are the things that make this walk from the (nearly treeless) Forest of Birse interesting - in contrast to an average hill walk. Unfortunately the hill of Tampie is everything that Gannoch isn't - scarred by monstrous new tracks and metal fences covering the old route - but at least it provides an easy route to the Fungle Road descent.

[The "new" Firmounth Road is an eyesore, but makes progress easy]

📌 Walk: Fungle & Firmounth - ancient Cairngorms highways ★★★
Start / finish at car park, minor road end 4 mi west of Finzean, G.R.: NO 532906 ///twit.walked.animates

▶ 16 km / 10 mi | ▲ 610 m | ⌚ Full day | Moderate
Features: Birse Castle (private); △ Gannoch (731 m); △ Tampie (723 m); St Colm's Well; Tinker's Cairn; Firmounth Road; Fungle Road
Terrain: Mostly tracks ranging from old and grassy to modern scars. Short wet or pathless sections skirting Birse Castle grounds.

Route & map

Car park - Ballochan - cross Burn of Corn at G.R.: NO 514903 - Gannoch - St Colm's Well - Firmounth Road - Tampie - Fungle Road - Ballochan - start


Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track

On our visit

Wildlife: Lapwings, rabbits and sheep in the valley. Grouse and furry caterpillars on the hills.
Weather: Sunshine, although cloudier above the summits; moderate wind.

[Inscribed stone on the Fungle Road descent]

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