Walking holiday in Scotland, advice please.

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Nicolas Masson, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. Hello,
    I am Nicolas from Grenoble in the French Alps.
    My girlfriend and I are planning to go to Scotland this summer on
    holiday, to walk in the Highlands (only to "walk" : though I like
    scrambling, she hates it).

    Being myself a regular of the french newsgroup fr.rec.montagne, I
    thought it a good idea to go to uk.rec.walking for advice.

    We will be going all the way to Scotland by train, and once we are there
    we will rely on public transports to move around. The total duration of
    our holiday will be two weeks (maybe three weeks if we go in july, see
    below our doubts about when to go).

    Our plan is to stay in B&Bs in places where many varied interesting
    walks can be made in a close radius, or using public transports for a
    short travel to the beginning of the walk.
    We would also like to be able to go for 2/3 days walks, sleeping in
    bothies or camping.

    We bought the "Walking in Scotland" Lonely Planet guide book, and
    "googled" the internet for information.

    Condsidering what we are looking for, two areas appear to be
    particularly interesting :
    - Aviemore and the Cairngorm Mountains
    - Fort William and Glen Nevis & Glen Coe

    Around Fort William, taking the train to Corrour or Rannoch station,
    standing in the middle of the wilderness, and walking back in 2/3 days
    to Fort William seems a great thing to do.

    We have also read about Glen Affric but can it be easily reached using
    public transports ?

    Have you got any other remark or advice about these places ?
    Would you suggest any other place ?


    We are also looking for advice about another important point : when to go ?
    We could be going in July or in September.
    On the one hand, July seems to have better weather, and we would like to
    enjoy long daylight. But we have read that the more popular hills an
    pathes should be overcrowded in July, moreover accomodations will be
    more difficult to find, and certainly more expansive. And we have been
    warned about midges.
    On the other hand, September is quieter but we have read that it is deer
    hunting season, and that walkers may not be welcomed in some areas.
    What is your opinion on this dilmemma ?

    Thank you for any relevant comments, answers, advices...

    --
    Nicolas Masson
     
    Tags:


  2. Nicolas Masson wrote:
    > Condsidering what we are looking for, two areas appear to be
    > particularly interesting :
    > - Aviemore and the Cairngorm Mountains
    > - Fort William and Glen Nevis & Glen Coe
    >
    > Around Fort William, taking the train to Corrour or Rannoch station,
    > standing in the middle of the wilderness, and walking back in 2/3 days
    > to Fort William seems a great thing to do.


    It's certainly possible, and you can take in as many of the hills on
    the way as you like. It's a wonderful area to get away from it all.

    > We have also read about Glen Affric but can it be easily reached using
    > public transports ?


    That depends on your definition of "easily" :) There is a bus from
    Glasgow to Skye that passes Loch Cluanie (http://tinyurl.com/jnhd4) and
    the track from grid ref NH091120 will take you into Glen Affric without
    too much difficulty.

    > We are also looking for advice about another important point : when to go ?
    > We could be going in July or in September.


    > But we have read that the more popular hills an
    > pathes should be overcrowded in July, moreover accomodations will be
    > more difficult to find, and certainly more expansive. And we have been
    > warned about midges.


    July can often be (for my taste) too hot for walking (though not as hot
    as Grenoble). Also if you're camping out in the West Highlands in
    July, especially around Glen Nevis / Rannoch Moor area, then you will
    definitely be plagued by midges (http://tinyurl.com/mu9rk). The only
    crowded hills in the area will be a few particular favourites, e.g.
    Buchaille Etive Mor, Ben Nevis, etc. If you take in some of other 95%
    of hills then you'll still see a few people but it won't be crowded.

    > On the other hand, September is quieter but we have read that it is deer
    > hunting season, and that walkers may not be welcomed in some areas.
    > What is your opinion on this dilmemma ?


    September is pretty much the end of the midge season, and is usually
    still fairly dry. Personally I'd recommend September over July, but
    others can argue the reverse. Deer stalking shouldn't be a problem if
    you stick to the recommended (and obvious) paths. Landowners are
    generally OK with responsible access and they will take hunting parties
    away from the main walking routes.

    If you do choose to come in July then you might prefer to base yourself
    at Aviemore and the Cairngorms because midges are usually less of a
    problem in the eastern parts of Scotland where there is less rain. The
    nature of the hills changes as well though - West Highland hills have
    more pointed jagged bits than the smooth-shouldered Cairngorms, and you
    may prefer one landscape over the other.

    Colin
     

  3. > Our plan is to stay in B&Bs in places where many varied interesting walks can be made in
    > a close radius, or using public transports for a short travel to the beginning of the
    > walk.
    > We would also like to be able to go for 2/3 days walks, sleeping in bothies or camping.


    You can walk thru the Cairnorms by various routes, inc staying at bothies.
    Buying the OS 1;25k map makes for easy planning of this.

    > Around Fort William, taking the train to Corrour or Rannoch station, standing in the
    > middle of the wilderness, and walking back in 2/3 days to Fort William seems a great
    > thing to do.


    Sounds good.Buy 'skin so soft' moisturiser which is used by hillpath
    workers and seems to be the best to combat the midges, keep moving
    is the trick and camp in windy spots.

    > We are also looking for advice about another important point : when to go ?
    > We could be going in July or in September.


    September is cooler but quite dry, less midges if camping. May is dry and warm.
    Saying that it was warm walking yesterday in the Glencoe area.

    Glencoe has plenty of day walks and variety. It is very accessable with the rd running
    thru it. Glen lyon is nice with a post bus from Killin.

    Gelnshee has many multiday walks around the area and is wild and quiet.
    You could connect to the Cairngorms as well.

    Enjoy your trip. I will be in France and the Alps, Pyrenees while you are here !

    Nick
     
  4. Faircloughs

    Faircloughs Guest

    Hi Nicolas - & welcome!

    I agree, midgies up here are awful, but the West is significantly better
    than the East and September won't be as bad as July (which could be truly
    dreadful!).

    Can I suggest a couple of websites to try out?:
    http://walking.visitscotland.com/
    http://www.go4awalk.com/home/

    Cheers
    Sian

    "Nicolas Masson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hello,
    > I am Nicolas from Grenoble in the French Alps.
    > My girlfriend and I are planning to go to Scotland this summer on holiday,
    > to walk in the Highlands (only to "walk" : though I like scrambling, she
    > hates it).
    >
    > Being myself a regular of the french newsgroup fr.rec.montagne, I thought
    > it a good idea to go to uk.rec.walking for advice.
    >
    > We will be going all the way to Scotland by train, and once we are there
    > we will rely on public transports to move around. The total duration of
    > our holiday will be two weeks (maybe three weeks if we go in july, see
    > below our doubts about when to go).
    >
    > Our plan is to stay in B&Bs in places where many varied interesting walks
    > can be made in a close radius, or using public transports for a short
    > travel to the beginning of the walk.
    > We would also like to be able to go for 2/3 days walks, sleeping in
    > bothies or camping.
    >
    > We bought the "Walking in Scotland" Lonely Planet guide book, and
    > "googled" the internet for information.
    >
    > Condsidering what we are looking for, two areas appear to be particularly
    > interesting :
    > - Aviemore and the Cairngorm Mountains
    > - Fort William and Glen Nevis & Glen Coe
    >
    > Around Fort William, taking the train to Corrour or Rannoch station,
    > standing in the middle of the wilderness, and walking back in 2/3 days to
    > Fort William seems a great thing to do.
    >
    > We have also read about Glen Affric but can it be easily reached using
    > public transports ?
    >
    > Have you got any other remark or advice about these places ?
    > Would you suggest any other place ?
    >
    >
    > We are also looking for advice about another important point : when to go
    > ?
    > We could be going in July or in September.
    > On the one hand, July seems to have better weather, and we would like to
    > enjoy long daylight. But we have read that the more popular hills an
    > pathes should be overcrowded in July, moreover accomodations will be more
    > difficult to find, and certainly more expansive. And we have been warned
    > about midges.
    > On the other hand, September is quieter but we have read that it is deer
    > hunting season, and that walkers may not be welcomed in some areas.
    > What is your opinion on this dilmemma ?
    >
    > Thank you for any relevant comments, answers, advices...
    >
    > --
    > Nicolas Masson
    >
     
  5. Faircloughs

    Faircloughs Guest

    DOUGH!
    Spot the obvious error... East is better than the West!!!!

    "Faircloughs" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Hi Nicolas - & welcome!
    >
    > I agree, midgies up here are awful, but the West is significantly better
    > than the East and September won't be as bad as July (which could be truly
    > dreadful!).
    >
    > Can I suggest a couple of websites to try out?:
    > http://walking.visitscotland.com/
    > http://www.go4awalk.com/home/
    >
    > Cheers
    > Sian
    >
    > "Nicolas Masson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >> Hello,
    >> I am Nicolas from Grenoble in the French Alps.
    >> My girlfriend and I are planning to go to Scotland this summer on
    >> holiday, to walk in the Highlands (only to "walk" : though I like
    >> scrambling, she hates it).
    >>
    >> Being myself a regular of the french newsgroup fr.rec.montagne, I thought
    >> it a good idea to go to uk.rec.walking for advice.
    >>
    >> We will be going all the way to Scotland by train, and once we are there
    >> we will rely on public transports to move around. The total duration of
    >> our holiday will be two weeks (maybe three weeks if we go in july, see
    >> below our doubts about when to go).
    >>
    >> Our plan is to stay in B&Bs in places where many varied interesting walks
    >> can be made in a close radius, or using public transports for a short
    >> travel to the beginning of the walk.
    >> We would also like to be able to go for 2/3 days walks, sleeping in
    >> bothies or camping.
    >>
    >> We bought the "Walking in Scotland" Lonely Planet guide book, and
    >> "googled" the internet for information.
    >>
    >> Condsidering what we are looking for, two areas appear to be particularly
    >> interesting :
    >> - Aviemore and the Cairngorm Mountains
    >> - Fort William and Glen Nevis & Glen Coe
    >>
    >> Around Fort William, taking the train to Corrour or Rannoch station,
    >> standing in the middle of the wilderness, and walking back in 2/3 days to
    >> Fort William seems a great thing to do.
    >>
    >> We have also read about Glen Affric but can it be easily reached using
    >> public transports ?
    >>
    >> Have you got any other remark or advice about these places ?
    >> Would you suggest any other place ?
    >>
    >>
    >> We are also looking for advice about another important point : when to go
    >> ?
    >> We could be going in July or in September.
    >> On the one hand, July seems to have better weather, and we would like to
    >> enjoy long daylight. But we have read that the more popular hills an
    >> pathes should be overcrowded in July, moreover accomodations will be more
    >> difficult to find, and certainly more expansive. And we have been warned
    >> about midges.
    >> On the other hand, September is quieter but we have read that it is deer
    >> hunting season, and that walkers may not be welcomed in some areas.
    >> What is your opinion on this dilmemma ?
    >>
    >> Thank you for any relevant comments, answers, advices...
    >>
    >> --
    >> Nicolas Masson
    >>

    >
    >
     
  6. Adam Lea

    Adam Lea Guest

    "Rob Devereux" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "Nicolas Masson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > If heading to Aviemore, then you have options to head south to
    > Newtonmore(where there are good walker-friendly hotels and independent
    > hostels) you have good access to the Monadliath - a series of upland Moors
    > with Heather and Peat bog but very accessible for walkers. From Aviemore,
    > there are a number of places you can go in the Cairngorms but bear in mind
    > that the mountain range is 10kms? from Aviemore so unless you find
    > somewhere
    > to stay nearer, you will have a long road walk on top of anything you do.


    There is a bus service that runs from Aviemore to the Cairngorm ski centre:

    http://www.greentourism.org.uk/CairngormBus.html
     
  7. druidh

    druidh Guest

    Nicolas Masson wrote:
    > Hello,
    > I am Nicolas from Grenoble in the French Alps.
    > My girlfriend and I are planning to go to Scotland this summer on
    > holiday, to walk in the Highlands (only to "walk" : though I like
    > scrambling, she hates it).


    > Our plan is to stay in B&Bs in places where many varied interesting
    > walks can be made in a close radius, or using public transports for a
    > short travel to the beginning of the walk.
    > We would also like to be able to go for 2/3 days walks, sleeping in
    > bothies or camping.
    >
    > We bought the "Walking in Scotland" Lonely Planet guide book, and
    > "googled" the internet for information.
    >
    > Condsidering what we are looking for, two areas appear to be
    > particularly interesting :
    > - Aviemore and the Cairngorm Mountains
    > - Fort William and Glen Nevis & Glen Coe
    >
    > Around Fort William, taking the train to Corrour or Rannoch station,
    > standing in the middle of the wilderness, and walking back in 2/3 days
    > to Fort William seems a great thing to do.
    >
    > We have also read about Glen Affric but can it be easily reached using
    > public transports ?
    >

    Glen Affric is lovely. As you say, it can be a bit difficult to reach.
    However, it is possible to get a bus to the Cluanie Inn (on the road A87).
    > Have you got any other remark or advice about these places ?
    > Would you suggest any other place ?
    >

    Aviemore and Fort william are both good bases. Both have good public
    transport and a range of hills nearby. However, both can be a bit
    expensive and neither is particularly attractive.

    I would suggest even further North West (Ullapool) but public transport
    is not so available.
    >
    > We are also looking for advice about another important point : when to go ?
    > We could be going in July or in September.
    > On the one hand, July seems to have better weather, and we would like to
    > enjoy long daylight. But we have read that the more popular hills an
    > pathes should be overcrowded in July, moreover accomodations will be
    > more difficult to find, and certainly more expansive. And we have been
    > warned about midges.

    Scotland is never "crowded" to that extent. However, it is the peak
    holiday season and accomodation can be more difficult to find. (One
    might say that it is always too expensive).

    Midges can be a problem, but can mostly be avoided with a little care
    about choice of campsite and by using the Avon (cosmetics) Skin-so-soft
    or an insect repellant containing "deet". A net to cover the head may
    also be of some use.

    > On the other hand, September is quieter but we have read that it is deer
    > hunting season, and that walkers may not be welcomed in some areas.
    > What is your opinion on this dilmemma ?
    >

    September can often be drier than July, most of the midges will have
    died and it will be quieter. The forest areas will be even more pretty.
    Very little is "closed" due to deer hunting and the main paths are
    (almost) always open.

    > Thank you for any relevant comments, answers, advices...
    >


    When you have narrowed down your choices, please come back for further
    advice!


    druidh
     
  8. Nick (Scots) a écrit:
    >
    > I will be in France and the Alps, Pyrenees while you are here !


    Do you need any tip about the Alps ?
    I would be glad to offer some advice in return for yours.

    --
    Nicolas Masson
     
  9. Paul Gretton

    Paul Gretton Guest

  10. Rob Devereux a écrit (wrote) :
    >
    >
    > (...)
    >
    > I'd recommend September. (...)


    We made our minds in favor of september.

    > As I mentioned, you do need to have good navigation skills to walk in
    > scotland; (...)
    >
    > best wishes and if i can help more, let me know


    Thank you for your many route suggestions.

    I have been able to spot all the places you mentionned thanks to the
    maps-looking things in the Lonely planet guide book and to a 1984 RAC
    Road Atlas of Britain (sic).

    As far as navigation is concerned, I do have a compass and an altimeter
    and some knowledge of how to use them.

    This leads to the question of maps.
    I have read that there are 1/25000 and 1/50000 O.S. maps. (I even know
    where to buy them in France)
    Being used to the great I.G.N. TOP25 here in France I am fully aware of
    the great advantages of the 1/25000 over the 1/50000.
    But it takes a lot of 1/25000 maps to cover a wide area (how many would
    it take to cover all the routes you described ?) and it would be a waste
    of money to invest in many maps just for a two weeks holiday.
    My point is : are the O.S. 1/50000 maps good enough for finding one's
    way, considering we are not going to wander far from well trodden pathes
    (at least not if the clouds makes route finding a challenge), and we
    will not be in remote areas (Cairngorm, Glen Coe etc.)

    --
    Nicolas Masson
     
  11. Rob Devereux a écrit:
    >
    > _England_ rarely has guaranteed weather at any time of year,


    And these French guide books keep warning us : "do not call Scotland
    <<England>> or you will be in trouble..."

    ;-)

    --
    Nicolas Masson
     
  12. Phil Cook

    Phil Cook Guest

    Nicolas Masson wrote:

    >Rob Devereux a écrit:
    >>
    >> _England_ rarely has guaranteed weather at any time of year,

    >
    >And these French guide books keep warning us : "do not call Scotland
    ><<England>> or you will be in trouble..."


    Just like calling Alsace Germany :)

    I have a book by an American that thinks Carlisle is in Scotland.
    --
    Phil Cook looking north over the park to the "Westminster Gasworks"
     
  13. druidh

    druidh Guest

    Nicolas Masson wrote:
    > Rob Devereux a écrit (wrote) :
    >
    >>
    >>
    > > (...)
    > >

    >
    >> I'd recommend September. (...)

    >
    >
    > We made our minds in favor of september.
    >
    >> As I mentioned, you do need to have good navigation skills to walk in
    >> scotland; (...)
    >>
    >> best wishes and if i can help more, let me know

    >
    >
    > Thank you for your many route suggestions.
    >
    > I have been able to spot all the places you mentionned thanks to the
    > maps-looking things in the Lonely planet guide book and to a 1984 RAC
    > Road Atlas of Britain (sic).
    >
    > As far as navigation is concerned, I do have a compass and an altimeter
    > and some knowledge of how to use them.
    >
    > This leads to the question of maps.
    > I have read that there are 1/25000 and 1/50000 O.S. maps. (I even know
    > where to buy them in France)
    > Being used to the great I.G.N. TOP25 here in France I am fully aware of
    > the great advantages of the 1/25000 over the 1/50000.
    > But it takes a lot of 1/25000 maps to cover a wide area (how many would
    > it take to cover all the routes you described ?) and it would be a waste
    > of money to invest in many maps just for a two weeks holiday.
    > My point is : are the O.S. 1/50000 maps good enough for finding one's
    > way, considering we are not going to wander far from well trodden pathes
    > (at least not if the clouds makes route finding a challenge), and we
    > will not be in remote areas (Cairngorm, Glen Coe etc.)
    >


    1:50,000 is perfectly good. That's all I use and I walk in Scotland all
    the time.


    druidh
     
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