Ready for a solo 4+1 days in the Cairngorms!

The Cairngorms from my early June walk. I fell in love with the place, hence this rather quick re-visit!

The Cairngorms from my walk in May of this year. I fell in love with the place, hence this rather quick re-visit!

In May of this Year I visited Scotland for the first time on a circular walk around the Southern Cairngorms. I enjoyed myself so much that I decided I would go back as soon as was practically possible.

The Cairngorms are huge. To put things into perspective, Dartmoor has an area of 953 Square Km, the Cairngorms by comparison has an area of 4,528 Square Km! So in terms of scale it’s a totally different ball game.

With such a large area to wander around, I think it will take a lifetime of walks to fully explore all of it!

This walk differs from the first one in that I will be walking from Blair Atholl to Aviemore. I was hoping to do the walk the other way around, but the trains are more frequent in Aviemore which makes that a better end point.

As usual, I start off with the Kit Muster to make sure that everything is present ready to be packed:

Kit muster! The kit I will be taking. The total load is 15.4kg without the spare litre of water. This is a pretty light load for me, especially given the duration of the walk.

Kit muster! The kit I will be taking. The total load is 15.4kg without the spare litre of water. This is a pretty light load for me, especially given the duration of the walk.

The kit load is relatively light at 15.4kg for 4+1 days which by my standards isn’t bad at all. Part of the weight savings come from the water I’m not taking with me.

Usually I carry a spare litre of water over and above what’s in the 800mL Travel Tap. However, on this walk, water will be abundant enough that this won’t be necessary, at least for the first two days.

For the sleeping arrangements I decided to go with the interim sleeping bag – the RAB Neutrino Endurance 400. I’m not expecting the weather to be cold enough to warrant the Winter bag.

In terms of new kit, I have finally got around to replacing the RAB Bergen eVent hard-shell:

The new hardshell! An Arcteryx Beta LT made from Goretex Pro!

The new hardshell! An Arcteryx Beta LT made from Gore-Tex Pro!

The new hard-shell is made of Gore-Tex Pro, which alas, is pretty expensive. But for me, the hard-shell is a critical piece of kit and not one that should be skimped on.

Gore-Tex Pro is apparently very hard wearing, so in theory I’m expecting this hardshell to last for a fair bit of time – at least longer than the two years that the RAB did.

On the scales, the Arcteryx Beta LT hardshell weighs in at 355 g, which amounts to a pretty hefty weight saving of 207 g over the heavier RAB eVent Bergen.

For food I’m  pretty much taking my usual load too:

Food! Enough here for 4+1 days in the wilds of bonnie Scotland!

Food! Enough here for 4+1 days in the wilds of bonnie Scotland! 4 breakfasts, 4 suppers, 3 lunches and snacks to go!

The big difference is that I am not bringing snack food for day 1 or day 5.

The reason for this is that on day 1 I typically eat a lot on the rail journey, so by the time I start the walk, I do not feel like eating. Day 1 will also be a relatively short day in terms of walk duration as I’m not expecting to get into Scotland until around 1530-ish.

As for Day 5 – the spare day, it only has around 7km of distance to cover. I know from previous experience that I never eat snacks on the last day. I suspect it’s because the last day is always very short and I usually eat once I get back to civilisation.

Despite the cuts, there is still spare capacity, as I don’t normally eat all my allocated snacks on each day anyways, so in theory I should still be leaving Scotland with some food left.

I’m now all packed and ready to go. As usual the butterflies are doing their thing in my stomach!

*Excited* All packed and ready for 4+1 days of adventure! :D

*Excited* All packed and ready for 4+1 days of adventure! 😀

The only thing that remains to be done is to brief my safety number and eat a large Domino’s Pizza – as per my hiking tradition.

So that’s it, I will now be off the grid until Thursday – have a good week everyone!

Laters

RobP

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Cairngorms, Hiking, Kit, Multi-Day Walk, Wild Camping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Ready for a solo 4+1 days in the Cairngorms!

  1. Titanium says:

    Sounds fantastic. Have fun. I got the same Hardshell after a lot of consideration, you won’t be disappointed!

  2. RobP says:

    It’s good to hear of someone else with positive experiences of the kit 🙂 Scotland is always great fun, just wish I had discovered it sooner!

  3. geoff says:

    I had a backpack in the Cairngorm’s a couple of weeks ago, Braeriach, Angels Peak, Monardh Mor and Beinn Bhrtain plus two wild camps and return via the Lairig Guru. Just brilliant big wild mountains. Enjoy!

  4. JohnBoy says:

    Will you be filling in an application for the TGO 2015 now that you will have racked up some valuable Scottish experience ?

    • RobP says:

      I have been toying with the idea – though a TGO walk would be at least double the duration of anything that I have done so far. That said, I have now proven that I can walk in pretty rugged terrain and still have good feet after 5 days 🙂 My other concern is the social aspect. I have to admit my introverted streak actually loves being alone, it’s one of the reasons why practically all my hikes are solo. From Robin’s very detailed write up at http://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com the whole thing sounds like a very social event – which for me would take away one aspect of the fun. Sounds weird, but I guess it’s the way I’m wired 🙂

      • JohnBoy says:

        I wouldn’t worry about the social aspect Rob, that’s simply down to the route you devise. Almost 50% of the challengers walk solo, and if you pick one of the more southern starting points you’ll be lucky to see any other challengers after you set out. I’ve known people setting out from Oben only meet two or three people over two weeks of trekking. The TGO is whatever you want it to be. I designed my walk to be solo, with the first week bumping into very few people and then gradually becomming more sociable towards the end. I set out from Strathcarron, the same starting point as 26 others, and within 30 minutes we’d all headed in different directions.
        Scotlands a big place, more than enough solitude and space to be alone.

      • JohnBoy says:

        p.s. Have you read Judiths report ?
        http://aroundthehills.wordpress.com
        She also walked solo and picked a lovely route, meeting few people. For me much of the social side was in the planning before going, sharing gear advise and learning from others via blogs.

  5. RobP says:

    She has a lot of TGO experience 🙂 I think I might go for this, as I love Scotland and love walking – so what’s there not to like? 🙂

  6. Pingback: Year in Review 2014 | Uk Backpacker

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