Author Topic: Planning hike in Scotland  (Read 368 times)


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Planning hike in Scotland
« on: 12:01:11, 12/02/20 »
We were planning a hike through Scotland later this year and we were wondering if it's possible/worth it to hike from the Cairngorms National Park to the area around Loch Ness? I wouldn't see why it's not possible but would it be worth it? Are there any nature trails, would we have to follow roads or would we have to make our way through rough terrain? Would it be worth the hassle. It would probably be from Grantown/Aviemore and we would try to end up somewhere around either Foyers or Fort Augustus.. Any tips, suggestions, ideas - anything really? Cheers ;D


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Re: Planning hike in Scotland
« Reply #1 on: 12:36:06, 12/02/20 »
Possible, yes. Worth it, probably not.

The area between the Cairngorms and Loch Ness is filled by the Monadhliath mountains - the gaelic translates as the grey hills, and that's not a bad description - they're lowish, rounded moorland cut by several valleys. Up to five or ten years ago, my advice would have been that a walk through them was definitely worth it if you enjoy that type of scenery, in fairly wild and empty land, partly following hill tracks and partly walking "off-trail".

However, the past decade has seen multiple wind farms developed in the area, most of which are not yet on standard maps. The best resource to see them is probably the Highland Council's windfarm map available here, which, if you zoom in, has very up-to-date OS mapping showing the new tracks to and around these farms as well as the location of the individual turbines. You'll see that many obvious routes across the Monadhliath now involve walking through miles of windfarm, which are probably not most people's cup of tea.

It is still possible to find some interesting routes there, particularly on the edges, but unless you've a strong personal reason for walking there I'd have said, sadly, that there are now many other bits of Scotland which I'd visit first, assuming I had a choice.

[Edit - having said that, you've got me looking at the map! If I was going to do such a walk, I'd probably take the "Burma road" route out of Aviemore to the Dulnain valley, take a mixture of hill track and "off-trail" walking to the Findhorn valley, follow the track up Glen Mazeran, then off trail over Carn na Saobhaidh, drop down somewhere near Loch Ruthven and follow a mixture of tracks and minor roads down to Loch Ness. I've walked parts of that before and I think it would make quite an enjoyable route which would avoid most of the windfarms. Though be aware the off-trail sections have the potential to be quite hard going and boggy, and clearly need reasonable navigation skills.]
« Last Edit: 12:57:18, 12/02/20 by Patrick1 »


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Re: Planning hike in Scotland
« Reply #2 on: 19:08:27, 13/02/20 »
Another alternative that you could consider to actually walking through the vastness of the Mondaliath would be, from Aviemore follow the East highland way down to Feshiebridge/Kincraig and onwards to Kingussie, Newtonmore . (The Speyside way gets you quicker down to Kincraig from Aviemore). From Newtonmore again follow the EHW, where you camp in Glen Banchor or if the weather is poor there is an estate bothy, and down to Laggan. From Laggan follow the road to Garva bridge where you can camp or walk a further 4 miles up to Melgarve bothy and then over the Corrieyairack to Fort Augustus. To give you an idea of some distances Aviemore to Glen Banchor via the Speyside way is 18 miles and can be done in a day, Glen Banchor to Laggan 8 miles, to Garva bridge 15miles and Melgarve a further 4. There is a further bothy, Blackburn, on the Corrieyairack which is 7.9 miles from Melgarve and Fort Augustus a further 5 miles from there.
I walked through the Mondaliath for the first time on last years TGO and it is a magnificent backpacking  and wildcamping area. It is somewhat spoilt by the windfarm. The route I took from Fort Augutus did walk straight through them, the newly created tracks did make for quick progress for the first half of the first day and after that they were out of sight   
« Last Edit: 20:26:28, 13/02/20 by snoopdawg »