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Saturday, 7 May 2011

Nearly time ... here's a preview of my route

As I write, I have just three more days before I head off for this year's Challenge.

Here's a quick preview of the route:

Tuesday 10 May: early train to Glasgow. Lunch in Glasgow, then onto the Mallaig train as far as Glenfinnan.

Wednesday 11 May: boat trip from Glenfinnan along Loch Shiel to Acharacle, and walk out to the coast (I always like to start right at the coast ...)

Thursday 12 May: enjoy being at the coast for a bit, then walk back to Acharacle in a leisurely manner. A chance to check and adjust kit.

Friday 13 May: start of the Challenge proper. Sign out, and head over Beinn Resipole, then along the shore of Loch Shiel as far as Scamodale. Camp at Scamodale.

Saturday 14 May: Continue to Glenfinnan and up Gleann Cuirnean. If weather is good and I feel like it, from Corryhully head up onto the ridge and traverse Sgurr a Choire Riabhaich to Meall an Fhir-eoin; otherwise stay low. Make camp on far bank of River Pean.

Sunday 15 May: Strathan, Kinbreak and into Glen Kingie. Down to Tomdoun and have a bath and a shave, a bed and a good meal at the hotel.

Monday 16 May: cross the bridge over Loch Garry and ascend by Allt Bealach Eosain, then traverse the ridge from Meall a' Choire Ghlais over Sron a' Choire Ghairbh to Sean Mheall. Descend to Kilfinnan and follow the road for teh last few kilometres to the Great Glen Hostel.

Tuesday 17 May: Ascend Allt Sidhean and drop down to Glen Turret. Follow the glen and stop for the night at Melgarve.

Wednesday 18 May: Continue to Garva Bridge then ascend Geal Charn and walk the ridge as far as Carn Ban and Carn Dearg, then descend to Loch Dubh and camp by the loch.

Thursday 19 May: Short day following Gleann Lochain and Geln Banchor down to Newtonmore, then following the cycle track into Kingussie. Another chance for a bath and a shave, a decent meal and a nice bed. Plus the chance to deal with any kit issues.

Friday 20 May: a long but flattish day walkign past Ruthven barracks, through the Inshriach Forest to Feshiebridge and across Feshie Moor to the Cairngorm Club footbridge, then by way of Loch Morlich to the Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel.

Saturday 21 May: Pass Ryvoan and head north, then fork away from Rynettin and walk the ridge Geal Charn - Geal Charn Beag - Carn Ruadh-bhreac. Descend to Ca-du ford and follow the track down Water of Allnack to Tomintoul. Another Youth Hostel beckons.

Sunday 22 May: Over Carn Daimh to Tomnavoulin and track up the River Livet to Suie then track below Carn Daimh to Blackwater Lodge. Cross the bridge and camp on teh opposite bank.

Monday 23 May: Track up Dead Wife's Hillock then ridge walk Rounumuck Hill - Cairnbrallan Hill - Hill of Three Stones - Longriggin Hill and Lang Hillock. Track across Blairlick Hill to Kindy Burn and ascent The Buck, then ridge walk Kebbuck Knowe and Hill of Snowy Slack. Track down Glen Laff and camp just above the tree line (which I'm told is no longer there as the trees have been clear felled ... )

Tuesday 24 May: A fair bit of road walking today, but the chance to get up into the Correen Hills on the path over Edinbanchory Hill and Fouchie Shank, then down into Alford where another nice hotel room beckons.

Wednesday 25 May: Over some hills and through the Bennachie Forest, then down by road into Inverurie.

Thursday 26 May: All road walking now, from Inverurie to Newmachar and on to the East coast at Balmedie beach. No attempt to get to Montrose today. It's a full day's walking and as I got in off the standby list the Park had long since been fully booked. So I shall stay overnight at Balmedie.

Friday 27 May: A leisurely journey down into Aberdeen (making use of motorised transport if any is available) then on to Montrose. Celebratory dinner and an overnight stay at the Park.

Saturday 28 May: by train to London and then home. When I booked my ticket, it was only £20 more to have a First Class ticket, so it was a no-brainer, wasn't it? After walking across Scotland, I reckon I'll deserve it!

This year I shall be carrying a camera with a 2GB memory card and two freshly-charged batteries, so I ought to be able to illustrate my blog with pictures of the whole crossing.

I'll be trialling dehydrated food as well, but not for my entire rations.

Just three more days to go ... Acharacle to Balmedie ... it's just a case of getting from A to B!

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