Monday, March 31, 2014

Looking wintery in the Cairngorms ... but melting

If conditions stay the way they are, it'll be more valley hiking than peak bagging in the Cairngorms. Check out the beautiful pics on Chris Townsend's blog. I hope I get some of that weather too!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Update on route and timing

Ben Nevis and Fort William Webcam
Ben Nevis, seen from this webcam this morning.

Here's the approximate route I'm planning. More detail becomes cumbersome to redraw in Google maps, so this will have to do.

I'm a bit behind with planning and still have to plan the last 2 days, approximately. It won't take long and frankly, the last day or so will be pretty unspectacular compared to the rest as it will be mostly road walking to make it into Montrose. Nevertheless, most of the route is planned now and more details will follow.

The big picture is: flight to Edinburgh and drive to Inverness on Saturday 5. April.  Sunday and Monday getting everything ready, last shopping in a bigger town and taking the bus to Poolewe on Lake Maree in the evening. Tuesday morning I'll start to walk, expecting to be in Drumnadrochit 5 or 6 days later to cross Loch Ness by boat.  From there, onwards to Aviemore, then across the Cairngorms to Braemer and onwards to Montrose.  In Aviemore, I'm planning to spend a couple of nights as I will have to resupply food and clean up.  

The whole trip will take about 16 days from Poolewe to Montrose, including the 2 days of rest in Aviemore.  Of course, depending on the weather and other unforeseen issues, this is just an estimate but since I'm hoping for fairly conservative daily mileage, I think it'll all be doable in the 16 days.

I'll be carrying a SPOT satellite messenger and transmit a position once or twice every day, so you should be able to see "live" progress here.

Now fingers crossed that the weather is good ... It's been brilliant this spring in Switzerland, so just some of that up there too, please!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Food strategy

I guess that I'll be using something like 3500 - 4000 calories per day,  of which 2000 are base caloric needs and about another 2000 from a day's hiking. Because there's only so much volume and weight I want to carry, one kilogram a day is the maximum I'll carry.  That works out at about 400 calories/100g and thus I will be getting the majority of my calories  from fat (which is probably always true...).  Fresh produce and the like are definitely not possible, canned stuff or anything else with a lot of liquid is impossible too. Leaves really dense and dehydrated foods. I pass on ready-made hiking meals: they cost a lot and don't taste great, besides, it'll be somewhat hard to resupply.  So, here's my planned daily ration:

Total per day:

Trail Mix 100g

Bars 3-4 (150g)

Cheese 200g

Meat 200g

Crackers 100g

Rice/Potato Mash 100g

chocolate 100g

Inst soup 2, 50g

Inst. Coffee (2 spoons)/infusion

Coconut Oil 50g

Total:  1050gr

I'll prepare one warm meal a day in the evening based on the rice and instant mashed potatoes. The other stuff will be eaten as snacks throughout the day. I will make instant coffee or tea for breakfast but not prepare any cereals etc -  I just don't like that stuff much, although it would be easy to bring some instant milk. Maybe I'll bring some vitamins for nutrients, but since it's after all just a couple of weeks, it's probably not a big problem.

The menu makes me long for a decent meal and a beer before I've even started ;-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Almost time to go!

The departure date is coming closer: 5. April! Check out some recent pictures from Chris Townsend, hiking guru, based out of Aviemore in the Cairngorms! There's still snow in the mountains.