Hiking and Backpacking in Scotland: What to Expect and Skills Needed

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Scotland is a world class desintation for hiking and backpacking, but it is very different from hiking in countries with well developed long distance trail systems. Still, with proper preparation and skill development, it can be done safely and enjoyably.

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  • Hiking and Backpacking in Scotland: What to Expect and Skills Needed

    1. 1. Backpacking Coast-to-Coast Across Scotland Philip Werner philip@sectionhiker.com
    2. 2. Biographical Info 4 Season AMC Hiking/Backpacking Leader with the Boston Chapter  Author and Editor of the SectionHiker.com Hiking Web Site  Backpacked across Scotland Twice – 2010 (180 miles) – 2013 (220 miles)
    3. 3. Agenda  Backpacking in Scotland  Recommended Skills  TGO Challenge
    4. 4. Scotland
    5. 5. Mountain Maritime Climate
    6. 6. Peakbaggers’ Heaven
    7. 7. Northwest Highlands
    8. 8. Mondaliath Mountains
    9. 9. Cairngorms
    10. 10. High Moorland
    11. 11. Very Wet and Muddy
    12. 12. No Tree Cover
    13. 13. Landscape Features Dictate Routes – Mountain Passes
    14. 14. Loch Ness (Great Glen)
    15. 15. Rivers and Bridges
    16. 16. Land Ownership in Scotland: Estates: 50% of the Land in Scotland is owned by 579 People in the form of Estates. • Forestry • Deer and Pheasant Hunting
    17. 17. Electric Fences
    18. 18. Timber Harvesting
    19. 19. Rights of Way Laws
    20. 20. Bothies
    21. 21. Inside a Bothie
    22. 22. Paths
    23. 23. Tracks (Land Rover Roads)
    24. 24. Historic Roads
    25. 25. Resupply – Few Small Towns
    26. 26. Resupply – Very Rural
    27. 27. Remote w/ Few Roads
    28. 28. Backpacking Skills
    29. 29. UK Route Planning – Mapping Tools C:UsersGerhardPicturesPicasaEx ports2013-05-29 TGO Challenge and The Lakes
    30. 30. Navigation in the UK OS Grid Reference is 2 Grid Letters, 3 Numbers (easting), 3 Numbers (northing) Peebles is at NT252402 25.2 kilometers east 40.2 kilometers north Each Blue Square on Paper Map is 1 KM Square
    31. 31. Learn Some Gaelic
    32. 32. Local Knowledge           Ruins vs Towns (look alike on maps) Washed Out Bridges Snow Conditions New Land Rover Tracks Stalking (Hunting) Season Dates Post Office Hours Store Hours Bothy Locations Weather Conditions in High Passes Weather Forecast
    33. 33. Cross Country Navigation
    34. 34. Staying Found
    35. 35. The Ubiquitous Map Case
    36. 36. Campsite Selection (Wind and Flash Flood)
    37. 37. Cooking Inside a Shelter
    38. 38. Damp Management
    39. 39. Stream Crossing
    40. 40. Layering
    41. 41. Foot Care
    42. 42. Walking Across a Peat Bog
    43. 43. Wet Peat
    44. 44. Drier Peat
    45. 45. The TGO Challenge Overview
    46. 46. The TGO Challenge
    47. 47. About the TGO Challenge  Coast-to-Coast Hike – – – – – – – – Started in 1980 300 participants a year Non-competitive 15 days maximum Design your own route Solo or in a group Foot travel only Camp or B&B
    48. 48. Scotland – 2010 Route
    49. 49. Scotland - 2013 Route
    50. 50. Wine and Cheese Parties
    51. 51. Braemar Bash
    52. 52. Challenger Camaraderie
    53. 53. Tuck Inn, Edzell
    54. 54. Banquet
    55. 55. Repeat Offenders Courtesy Alan Sloman
    56. 56. Getting into the Challenge  Scottish hill walking experience required, but can be waived An Tealloch, West Highlands Eildon Hills, Scottish Borders
    57. 57. Challenge Timeline  October 15 - Applications Due  December 1 – Hiker Selection  February 28 – Route Plans Due  March 30 – Vetter Comments  May 13-14 – Start Point Sign-outs – 3 check-ins with Challenge Control  May 26 & 27– Sign Out in Montrose – Banquet at Park Hotel
    58. 58. There is no “trail”
    59. 59. Guidelines for First Time Challengers  Take a Low Level Route  Follow River Valleys  Verify all Bridges  Use Hill Tracks  Avoid High Mountain Passes  Make sure Towns on Maps Have Shops or Inhabitants
    60. 60. Challenge Route Plan Vetter Response, with route amendments and suggestions
    61. 61. Gear Choices          Shoes – Trail Runners – Dry Quickly Shelter – Pyramid Tarp- Wind Resistance Sleeping Bag – Down 20 Degree Backpack - Lightweight Chlorine Dioxide – Water Treatment 1 Qt Plastic Bottle – Hydration Navigation – Compass and ViewRanger Android Tracking/Emergency– SPOT II GPS Messenger Stove - Canister
    62. 62. Tips for Yanks  Go light but be comfortable  Bring a 100 weight fleece sweater  Be a compass expert, really  Wear Insect Shield clothing (Lyme)  Use a shelter with a bathtub floor  Avoid road walking  Map distance are metric but road signs are in miles
    63. 63. Montrose – Journey’s End
    64. 64. Questions

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