Lessons from a wild camping trip
by Physicistinboots » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:54 pm
Route description: Cairn Toul - Braeriach traverse
Munros included on this walk: Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Date walked: 08/09/2012
Distance: 34 km
Ascent: 2080m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
First lesson - taking a two day route from Walkhighlands and attempting to do it in one and a half days whilst also carrying full packs for the first time, is probably not going to work. We had originally planned to camp on the Friday night and start early on Saturday morning. However work commitments made this tricky so we decided to travel up in the morning. Unfortunately the earliest possible arrival at the start (Sugar Bowl car park) by public transport was almost 11am. We also had to be back at the bus stop by the Cairngorm ski centre by 5:40pm on the Sunday in order to make it home that evening. This limited amount of time certainly made us walk faster on the second day! Although considerably less stress would have been preferable .
Second lesson – There is probably a reason why the route goes one way round rather than the other. We decided to attempt to walk Braeriach, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Cairn Toul and the Devil’s Point on the first day and then descend to camp near the bothy before returning along the Lairig Ghru on the second. In the end heavy bags and a late start meant that we didn’t get nearly as far as we wanted on day one so we ended up camping just off the summit of Braeriach. On day two we made it to the next two Munros before sadly deciding to not attempt the Devil’s Point as we were a bit pushed for time by that point .
Third lesson – 8 litres of water is far too much! Two litres were poured out before we even started and another two later on. We passed plenty of easily accessible clear streams where I could have filled up.
Fourth lesson – A large, unwieldy pack combined with a rough, boulder strewn path and a tired walker lead to many more falls and hobbling the last two hours of the route on a swollen ankle is not particularly fun .
Fifth lesson – waking up in the morning to the sight of the rising sun shining on the clouds beneath you makes everything else seem worth it .
Our campsite was nowhere near where we had originally planned but we found a boulder free patch and decided to stop in case we couldn’t find another suitable spot further along the route. And once you have the tent up, some hot food inside you and most of the climb out of the way, everything seems much better. The view in the morning was magnificent and camping at over 1200m is an experience worth having.
The walk on the second day was long and we were short on time so the pace needed to be fairly relentless. We also had much more wind to deal with than on day one which made walking with large bags even harder. However we made it back to the road, dodgy ankle and all. A lovely South African couple were then kind enough to give us a lift back to the station to save us the walk up to the ski centre.
All in all an exhausting trip with many aspects that I will do differently in the future. But with enough amazing parts to mean that there will definitely be future trips.
- Ready for the off
by skuk007 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:04 pm
I've yet to be brave enough to attempt wild camping at height but I can imagine seeing the sun rise over the tops must be quite magical, Shame about the Devil's Point , means a return trip
by LeithySuburbs » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:07 pm
by Cairngormwanderer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:02 am
Avoid still water (although I have drunk out of larger lochs) and anything within 10 metres or so of a dead animal (rushing streams filter stuff out very quickly). If there are a lot of sheep in the area I tend to wait until I'm higher up the hill before filling up, but it's all a case of using common sense.
by SAVAGEALICE » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:39 am
dont think i'd fancy lugging big packs up those hills!
by pigeon » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:32 am