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Cac Carn Beag
Lochnagar in winter by Bruce McAdam.jpg
Lochnagar corrie in winter
Highest point
Elevation1,155 metres (3,789 ft) [1]
Prominencec. 670 m
Parent peakBen Macdhui
ListingMunro, Marilyn
Coordinates56°57′17″N 3°14′25″W / 56.9547321°N 3.2402559°W / 56.9547321; -3.2402559Coordinates: 56°57′17″N 3°14′25″W / 56.9547321°N 3.2402559°W / 56.9547321; -3.2402559
English translationLittle loch of the noisy sound/Mountain of breasts
Language of nameGaelic
PronunciationScottish Gaelic: [peɲˈçiəxən]
Parent rangeGrampian Mountains
OS gridNO244861
Topo mapOS Landranger 44

Lochnagar (/ˌlɒxnəˈɡɑːr/ (About this soundlisten)) or Beinn Chìochan (pronounced [peɲˈçiəxən]) is a mountain in the Grampians of Scotland, located about five miles south of the River Dee near Balmoral. The mountain gives its name to Deeside and Lochnagar National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland.[2] The designated national scenic area is 39,787 hectares (98,320 acres) in size,[3] and covers the mountains surrounding Lochnagar as far south as the head of Glen Doll, as well Deeside to the north.[4]


Technically, the English name is a misunderstanding, being named after Lochan na Gaire, the 'little loch of the noisy sound', a loch to be found in the mountain's northeast corrie. Today the lochan is popularly called Lochnagar too. The summit itself may be referred to as Cac Càrn Beag,[5] meaning "small cairn of faeces" in Scottish Gaelic. Another proposed English translation is little pile of shit,[5] though Peter Drummond, former chairman of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, has suggested that cac is a corruption of cadha ('slope'), which would lend a translation of little cairn of the slope.[5]

Beinn Chìochan (mountain of breasts) is an alternative Gaelic name.[6]


Scottish tourists on the summit in 1933

The mountain's principal feature is a north-facing corrie, around which most of the subsidiary tops, as well as the main peak, sit; the mountain is a Munro and is popular with hillwalkers at all times of the year. The most common ascent route is from Glen Muick. Care should be taken on the summit in poor visibility: the plateau has few obvious features and has steep cliffs on its northern edge.

The peak also lends its name to the poem Lachin y Gair (also known as Dark Lochnagar) by Lord Byron, and the song based on it.

A malt-whisky distillery located near the Balmoral estate on the south side of the River Dee produces the Royal Lochnagar Single Malt whisky.

The mountain forms part of two designated Special Protection Areas, [7] due to its importance for breeding dotterel (Charadrius morinellus)[8] and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos).[9]

Lochnagar is located on the Royal Estate of Balmoral,[10] and the mountain itself has royal links, it is the setting for a children's story, The Old Man of Lochnagar, originally told by Prince Charles. In the film Mrs. Brown, John Brown and Benjamin Disraeli hike up Lochnagar to discuss the need for Queen Victoria to return to active involvement with government.


Lochnagar experiences an Alpine Tundra Climate, with freezing, snowy winters and cold summers; the nearest UK Met Office weather station is at Braemar 6.6 miles (10.6 km) northwest. The yearly temperature range is usually between −6.6 °C (20.1 °F) and 9.4 °C (48.9 °F), but it can be slightly warmer and colder. January has the highest average frosts, despite February nights being colder; January has an average of 26.9 frost days, compared with 24.3 in February. There is the risk of a frost at any time of the year, even in July and August, when each month averages 1 air frost every 10 years.[11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cac Carn Beag (Lochnagar)". munromagic.com. Munro Magic. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  2. ^ "National Scenic Areas". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  3. ^ "National Scenic Areas - Maps". Scottish National Heritage. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Map: Deeside and Lochnagar National Scenic Area" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Townsend, Chris (30 March 2011). Scotland. Cicerone Press Limited. p. 265. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  6. ^ "Lochnagar". An Stòr-dàta Briathrachais Gàidhlig. University of the Highlands. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Site Details for Lochnagar". Scottish Natural Heritage. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Site Details for Cairngomes Massif". Scottish Natural Heritage. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Property Page: Balmoral (Aberdeen part) and Birkhall". Who Owns Scotland. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Lochnagar climate information". UK Government Met Office. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  11. ^ "Does Elevation Affect Temperature?". On The Snow. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-13.