The laziness factor appears with the backpack. I couldn't find my 50 liter dry bag and never bothered to remove the stays from the Backpacking Light Arctic Dry Pack. That's about a 160 gram penalty right there, but I didn't care. Sure it's a nice amount of single malt or a couple candy bars but given the nature of this trip it just didn't bother me. I decided to sleep on my comfortable, but heavy, Pacific Outdoor Equipment InsulMat which weighs in at 406 grams. Very comfortable but the heaviest 3-season pad I currently own. I could have shed weight here with an item like a TorsoLite saving over 100 grams, but again I wanted the extra comfort and given the nature of this trip I felt this was a fair trade. My Arc Alpinist can keep me warm down into the teens (fahrenheit degrees) and that is definitely more than enough for Scotland in May. Will I use the Arc again next year? Probably unless I have something that is nearly as good and lighter.
The long and short of it is this. Even when you factor in the large amount of maps, carrying cases, extra batteries and such I still had a base pack weight around 14.75 pounds (6.7 kilograms). When you remember that my camera bag alone accounted for somewhere around 950 grams of that and all those maps and such nearly a kilogram more you see that the weight for the camping gear is actually pretty good. I wasn't carrying the lightest load but I was nowhere near the heaviest. And in the future I can either change some items out or even add some items (like a tripod and second decent still camera) and not really mind the 2 to 3 pounds (1.0 to 1.5 kilograms) weight increase because even at the absolute worst I'll know that the carried load is still less than 27 pounds (12.26 kilograms).
As I said above I paid more attention to the distances I was traveling and you can see that is reflected in the maps I have shared with you. However, summaries of information are nice and so the table below provides one for you. I actually stayed pretty well on my planned route except when I really blew it. I had troubles on my trek into Fort Augustus but my worst day was clearly the hike between Gelder Shiel and Spittal of Glenmuick. I also took the long way around out of Braemar and a different path through the forest by Invercould Bridge but those didn't add much distance and, more important, stress compared to what came later. After all is said and done I am sure I added at least 10 kilometers to my planned route with my micro- and macro detours. But I doubt I added too much more than that.
|Day||Distance (km)||Approximate Elevation Change (m)|
|Dornie to Canban Bothy1||23.32||700||200|
|Canban Bothy to Cougie||22.102||500||500|
|Cougie to Fort Augustus||31.00||700||700|
|Fort Augustus to Melgarve Bothy3||20.70||800||460|
|Melgarve Bothy to Monadhliath Hotel||12.65||250||250|
|Monadhliath Hotel to Kingussie||17.50||250||250|
|Kingussie to Ruigh-aiteachain Bothy||15.70||260||100|
|Ruigh-aiteachain Bothy to Mar Lodge4||29.75||820||870|
|Mar Lodge to Braemar||05.75||100||100|
|Braemar to Spittal Glenmuick5||27.90||700||700|
|Spittal of Glenmuick to Tarfside||24.90||600||680|
|Tarfside to Water of Dye Camp (N O 656 863)6||27.00||470||450|
|Water of Dye Camp (N O 656 863) to Mergie||21.30||400||400|
|Mergie to Dunnottar Castle||13.80||100||250|
|Totals (14 Days)||293.37 kilometers|
1. My initial plan had me going to the Alltbeithe Youth Hostel but I decided that this was far enough. Adding 3.5 kilometers to the next day wasn't a big hit.
2. I actually probably walked a bit more than what is stated since I wandered around looking for the footpath a modest bit including some back tracking, but that's life.
3. The crossing of the Corryairack pass to Kinguusie can certainly be done as an overnight, but I decided to add a day thus making the stretch between Melgarve Bothy and Kingussie two short days.
4. Russ Manion had talked up Mar Lodge and I am very glad I lengthened my day to go there. It is true my feet were dog tired by the end of the day but this is a place I would return too. I'd even try to have some decent food waiting for me.
5. My worst day from a navigation point of view. It's true my northernly route did not add too much distance but my trials with the Gelder Shiel footpath and then muck up by the holiday homes really made this a much longer day.
6. Getting through the Blackcraigs region took a lot longer than I think it should have. I have no doubt people with normal vision flew through here. But then that is hardly a new thing for me and it would be repeated going through Heatheryhaugh the next day.