Just got back from 4+1 days in the Cairngorms and I have to say that once again I enjoyed every minute of it. The more I go there the more I have come to realise that it is the premiere wilderness location in the UK!
This walk was a linear one that would take me from Blair Atholl to Aviemore. See the map below of the route as recorded by the GPS:
On most days I found myself climbing one Mountain or another. In fact I had managed to climb the highest Mountan in the Cairngorms called Ben Macdui at 1309 mts elevation! The graph below lays testament to just how mountainous the walk was:
The Mountains when combined with a 16 kg pack and the very rough nature of the terrain meant that this walk more than any other really pushed my endurance.
In terms of plan adherence the walk was pretty good. I made all my daily endpoints, but there were one or two spectacular navigation fubars that I will share with you on the day by day reports 🙂
My only complaint about the overall plan was that the timings were incredibly tight. Apart from the last night, I got to every end point either at, or after sunset. Ideally I prefer to make camp around an hour before sunset.
Weather wise, there was rain on day 2, very high winds on day 4, but other than those two days the weather was actually pretty good!
In terms of kit, I was impressed with most of it. The Garmin GPS62 for managing to stay alive on just 2 AA batteries for the entire 5 day journey, the hiking poles for getting me out of trouble on numerous occasions and even the leaky Salomon boots proved to be so comfortable that I have came away with no foot injuries.
However, the outright winner has to go to the Arcteryx Beta LT:
Day 2’s weather was absolutely appalling, yet this hardshell kept me dry the entire day. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Hopefully this garment will retain its water tight credentials over future walks.
Once again, I leave the Cairngorms with the feeling that I must go back! If only it wasn’t so far away…
Anyways, tune in for the detailed day by day reports over the coming weeks! 🙂