Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

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Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Fri 27 Jan, 2012 8:34 pm

I will be in Snowdonia, based at Penmachno just south of Betws-y-coed in mid April with a car and would like to do a solo, challenging, 6 hour day walk, perhaps using one of the local trains to get to a secluded spot.

I will be doing Mt Snowdon by train on one of the mornings, so that is not on my list.

I hear the day walks near Trefriw are excellent, which is relatively close, but are they challenging enough.

Any ideas?
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Re: Day Walking in Snowdonia -Wales

Postby rwfox » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 7:10 pm

Hi
I good walk in Snowdonia is the Snowdon Horse shoe. See this web page for details: http://www.trekkingbritain.com/snowdonthehorseshoe.htm
I hope you get good weather as it has rained the last two times we have visited North Wales.
However, we have done this walk and recommend it. may take about 6-7 hours.
You really need a good dry day. Snowdon often has cloud on the summit in the morning but can/may lift during the day.
But you could have to walk in the mist for a while.
You can stop half way for a cup of tea in the summit cafe. :)

PS. This walk does not follow the train track,except for a little bit by the cafe. So you can do both. :wink:
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Re: Day Walking in Snowdonia -Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Fri 03 Feb, 2012 11:41 pm

Thanks rwfox. I'll check it out.
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Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort William)

Postby Bush Walker » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 10:04 pm

Day Walking in the Cairngorms near Fort William, Scotland

I will be in Scotland, based at Fort William in late April with a car and would like to do a solo, challenging, 6-8 hour day walk, with some scrambling if possible.

I hear the day walks in the Cairngorms are excellent.

Any ideas?
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Re: Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort Willi

Postby photohiker » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 10:40 pm

Be aware that the Cairngorms can turn nasty very quickly. In April you will still experience the tail of winter snow season (or worse if it is a heavy winter), and even with experience it is advisable to travel with a companion.

Walking World has a few walks listed that may interest. Cairngorms

I like this one: Ben McDui and Cairngorm

The route from the Cairngorm Ski Car Park crosses below the northern corries of Cairngorm before climbing the steep ridge towards Cairn Lochain. A long gradual climb leads to Ben Macdui, Scotland's second highest mountain at 1,309m. The route provides spectacular views across the Lairig Ghru to Braeriach and Cairn Toul. From Ben Macdui the route cuts across the plateau to Cairn Gorm (1,245m) before descending the Fiacaill a' Choire Chais to the finish. On the Cairngorms expect winter even in summer, so be prepared for all weathers!

Walk Grade: Mountain Challenge
Length: 10.8 Miles (how quaint) :)
Height Gain: 960M
Duration: 5h 57m
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Re: Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort Willi

Postby doogs » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 11:08 pm

I have been in white out conditions in the Cairngorms and I agree that you shouldn't walk past Cairn Gorm alone unless in perfect conditions with a perfect forecast. Ben Macdui can be done as a great circuit via Loch Avon and returning via the route above. Beinn mheadhoin is another alternative in the immediate area. Braeriach and Cairn Toul on the other side of the Lairig Ghru is another high plateau walk which will have plenty of spring snow too.
Fort William isn't really near the Cairngorms though, if you are based over there you may want to look at the Grey Corries orone of the easier walks in Glencoe. Ben Nevis is of course the major drawcard in the Fort William area.
Do you want to build a snowman?
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Re: Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort Willi

Postby Bush Walker » Sat 04 Feb, 2012 11:47 pm

Thanks for the ideas. I get the message about the weather and walking solo.
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Re: Day Walking in Snowdonia -Wales

Postby durks » Sun 05 Feb, 2012 1:07 am

Bush Walker wrote:I will be in Snowdonia, based at Penmachno just south of Betws-y-coed in mid April with a car and would like to do a solo, challenging, 6 hour day walk


From Betws-y-Coed all places in the National Park are close enough with a car, so you have a wide variety of choices. It all depends on what you want to do and see.

Since you will have seen Snowdon, one suggestion would be to take a walk in the next range north. E.g. Starting from Ogwen, scramble up Tryfan via its north ridge, then go up Bristly Ridge to the Glyders, follow that ridge west, and then back down to Ogwen (and your car) from Llyn y Cwm. That should be about six hours worth and will take you into some beautiful country. Tryfan itself is a perfect little rocky Welsh mountain, which you should at least take a look at if you're in the area.

Equally you could have a walk in the Carneddau - the next range north yet again. Those hills are less rugged, but also have the advantage of being less popular.
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Re: Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort Willi

Postby durks » Sun 05 Feb, 2012 1:21 am

Bush Walker wrote:Day Walking in the Cairngorms near Fort William, Scotland

I will be in Scotland, based at Fort William in late April with a car and would like to do a solo, challenging, 6-8 hour day walk, with some scrambling if possible.

I hear the day walks in the Cairngorms are excellent.


I am getting confused by your flurry of similar posts about the British hills. Overall, what style of trip are you planning and what are you hoping to get out of it? Have you been to the area(s) at all before? If you clarify that, maybe we can give more focussed suggestions.

To the above question: as Doogs has said, Fort William is a great location but it is not the obvious base for the Cairngorms - so if it's the Cairngorms you're after, maybe you could think again and instead stay in Aviemore for example (or Braemar, for the southern Cairngorms.)

Back in Fort William, the very obvious 8 hour day with scrambling would be Ben Nevis itself via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. Even better, go up Ben Nevis via the Ledge Route, and then down the Carn Mor Dearg Arete.

From Fort William you also have Glencoe on your doorstep, as well as the Mamores. For quieter, less trodden hills, go across Loch Linnhe to Ardgour (via the Corran Ferry) and then have a walk up, for example, Garbh Bheinn. That's a fine rocky peak and, being just under Munro height, isn't such a honeypot.

Really, there is a vast range of possibilities - and you will find no shortage of suggestions in the many walking guidebooks which cover the various areas.

Final comment: in an average year, the high hills in Scotland can still be in Winter condition in April, so be prepared for that. This current Winter has been rather soft so far, but there's no way of telling what's to come.

Have a good trip, and post back if you want further more detailed advice or suggestions.
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Re: Day Walking in Snowdonia -Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Sun 05 Feb, 2012 9:05 am

Thanks durks and rwfox for your help.

Betws-y-Coed does seem to be an ideal base for walking Snowdonia.

At this stage I have decided to do the Snowdon Horseshoe as my first priority. I think I would be remiss not to climb it!

The most famous way of all though is the Snowdon Horseshoe. This route is aesthetically pleasing, tracing a horseshoe round the mountains high above the lakes of Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn. It also presents the most challenging route, including a Grade 1 scramble along the ridge of Crib Goch. Walkingworld.com (4965)


Thanks for the great ideas north of Snowdon. I'll try to fit them in.
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Re: Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort Willi

Postby Bush Walker » Sun 05 Feb, 2012 9:45 am

Thanks for your help durks, which along with doogs's advice has helped me change my focus away from the Cairngorms, back to Fort William

Some clarification.

My major focus while in the UK is not walking, as this is a family trip. I only have three days (Betws-y-coed-Snowdonia, Ullswater-Lake District, Fort William-Scotland) for walking.

I have not been walking in the UK before, so I will need to pick the highlights of each area, even if this involves visiting some very popular walks. I have downloaded the relevant Lonely Planet Walking Guide chapters and visited several excellent websites such as walkingworld.com which have downloadable route maps, waypoint pics and GPX files. Fortunately neither fitness, scrambling nor heights will limit my route selection. I want something that is challenging for someone who has done multi day walks in alpine areas (Tasmania & NZ) before and has some experience with rock climbing and mountaineering.

I take your point about Cairngorms not being near to Fort William and that I would be better climbing Ben Nevis, which would be safer for a solo walk. I also appreciate your warning about the weather and will be well prepared with the usual alpine clothing, less the ice axe and crampons, which I assume will not be needed in April. If so, I will need to find something lower down.

I have read the various routes and think your suggestion about Ben Nevis itself via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete is an ideal solution.

For info, my other two choices at this stage are:
The Snowdon Horseshoe [4965](Snowdonia), :
Glenridding - Helvellyn - Striding Edge - Grisedale Brow - Glenridding [907](The Lake District)

PS I will ask the moderators to combine the 2 threads: perhaps a more general Day Walking in the UK Sorted ;) Liam
Last edited by Bush Walker on Tue 07 Feb, 2012 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Day walking in the Cairngorms, Scotland (near Fort Willi

Postby durks » Mon 06 Feb, 2012 11:34 pm

Bush Walker wrote:... change my focus away from the Cairngorms, back to Fort William


Yes, that sounds fair enough, given your overall plans. The Cairngorms are a beautiful range, by the way, which repay steady exploration. Whilst not as immediately dramatic as the mountains in the west, they have have some fantastic hidden corries, and a real feeling of remoteness. Save them for another trip!

Bush Walker wrote:I have not been walking in the UK before, so I will need to pick the highlights of each area, even if this involves visiting some very popular walks ...


All the areas you're visiting will be popular so, if you can time the trips to avoid weekends, so much the better.

Bush Walker wrote:I take your point about Cairngorms not being near to Fort William and that I would be better climbing Ben Nevis, which would be safer for a solo walk. I also appreciate your warning about the weather and will be well prepared with the usual alpine clothing, less the ice axe and crampons, which I assume will not be needed in April. If so, I will need to find something lower down.


Be aware that the summit plateau of Ben Nevis can be a confusing place in bad conditions, and requires careful navigation. (You need to avoid the gullies of the north face on your right, and Five Finger Gully on your left.) See the page http://www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk/top_tips.asp, among others, for specific tips, compass bearings, etc.

The top of Ben Nevis (known to all climbers here simply as 'The Ben', by the way) will certainly still be snow-covered in April and there could still be a snowfield all the way down to the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. It's unlikely that would cause you problems but bear it in mind. Crampons and axes could be hired in Fort William if necessary - e.g. from Nevisport http://www.nevisport.com/site/location/ ... rt-william).

Bush Walker wrote:I have read the various routes and think your suggestion about Ben Nevis itself via the Carn Mor Dearg Arete is an ideal solution.


That is a great trip and - if the weather is friendly - will give you grandstand views of the North Face of Ben Nevis, which is just a beautiful sight.

*If* the conditions are reasonable, and if you are up for it, you could consider going up Ledge Route (see e.g. http://scottishwinterroutes.com/ledgeroute.htm and http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/scrambling ... /3840.html) and then down the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. For Ledge Route at that time of year you would definitely want to take an axe and crampons though.

However you tackle the trip, I would suggest approaching from the (so-called) 'North Face' carpark at Torlundy rather than via the normal 'tourist track' which starts in Glen Nevis. The north face approach has been much improved in recent years and gives you much better views than does the grind up the tourist track.



If you get that lot done you'll have had a very nice introduction to the hills of Britain - so good luck with the weather! Your timing is good, anyway: in a normal year, late April and May are great times to be out in the hills here.
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Tue 07 Feb, 2012 8:40 am

Thanks for your reassuring confirmation of my plans durks. Thanks for the tip about the North Face carpark and route to The Ben.

Unfortunately, I have little ability to choose the day, due to accommodation which is locked in, but Snowdonia, Fort William and The Lake District are all looking good and avoid the weekends. As with all alpine walking, having the common-sense to cancel if the weather is not good is critical and I think this will apply to each of the walks, especially Helvellyn and The Ben as several of you have reminded me.

Wish I had some more time so I could do some of the multi-day traverses such as Cullin Ridge in Skye! Next time!

PS Next time I'll plan the walking FIRST and book the accommodation to last!
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby photohiker » Tue 07 Feb, 2012 11:24 am

As a southern-hemisphere occupant who has been to Scotland, can I suggest you pack and prepare your GPS?

Heresy, I know, but I have good reason, and it may apply to you. Better that you are prepared.

What I found after arriving there is that my normally good sense of direction was well out of whack. I was able to read the map and compass as I normally do, but then find myself walking off my track. On my first day, I got so bushed I had to stop and boil the billy to settle down, it was that unnerving.

I don't think it was jetlag, because I had time off before the start, and the problem persisted for the whole trip. I had to be very careful and routinely remind myself where north was and be doubly careful at any decision points along the way. I started testing myself on the second day: Where's North? Couldn't reliably find it without a compass on an overcast day.

I'm thinking this has something to do with the bathwater spinning down the plughole the wrong way up there. :D

I used the GPS more over there than I do here. If I didn't have it pre-loaded with my planned route, I suspect I'd still be wandering around the highlands :)
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Tue 07 Feb, 2012 12:04 pm

photohiker wrote:As a southern-hemisphere occupant who has been to Scotland, can I suggest you pack and prepare your GPS?



Thanks for the tip photohiker. I have downloaded the gpx files and will load them to my GPS.

While we are talking about navigating, I understand my southern hemisphere compass won't work effectively in the northern hemisphere. Did you find this?

I am thinking of using my watch with integrated compass and my GPS for navigating so this should not be a problem
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby photohiker » Tue 07 Feb, 2012 1:11 pm

Bush Walker wrote:
photohiker wrote:As a southern-hemisphere occupant who has been to Scotland, can I suggest you pack and prepare your GPS?



Thanks for the tip photohiker. I have downloaded the gpx files and will load them to my GPS.

While we are talking about navigating, I understand my southern hemisphere compass won't work effectively in the northern hemisphere. Did you find this?

I am thinking of using my watch with integrated compass and my GPS for navigating so this should not be a problem


Yes, I did find my Aussie compass was also having difficulty :)

I stopped at an outdoor shop in Inverness and bought a local balanced Silva for about $20. You could do likewise in Fort William. There has been discussion here on the forums about universal compasses that work anywhere.

I agree you could use your watch, you're only off for a day at a time. My watch chews batteries if I use the compass, and frankly, I just prefer the Silva over an electronic one, I keep that capability up my sleeve in case I trip and smash the Silva :D
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby durks » Tue 07 Feb, 2012 7:57 pm

Bush Walker wrote: ... I understand my southern hemisphere compass won't work effectively in the northern hemisphere ...


Whilst a compass balanced for the southern hemisphere *can* be made to work in Britain (and vice versa) by judicious tilting of the baseplate, that is a hassle you don't want if you are navigating in earnest. (And it becomes a bigger problem if your compass develops a bubble: that, combined with the necessary tilting, makes it very easy to get an incorrect reading.)

Any outdoor shop in all the places you're visiting will be able to sell you a Silva Type 3 compass for about 20 quid.
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby durks » Thu 22 Mar, 2012 9:52 pm

As an update:

The Winter in the UK this year never really got going (there were no protracted spells of snow and cold conditions), so I doubt that you will even come across any surviving snow patches in the Lakes or Wales next month. In the Scottish hills just now there is still some snow at higher levels (and, last weekend, folk were still climbing high up on Ben Nevis) - but Spring has now definitely arrived here too.

Assuming that you have Internet access, you can get good daily weather forecasts for all UK mountain regions at http://www.mwis.org.uk/

Have a good trip and, when you're done, post back here to let us know how things turned out.
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Thu 22 Mar, 2012 10:13 pm

Thanks for the update durks and best wishes for when I am walking from mid April to late April (Snowdon Horseshoe, Helvellyn, Ben Nevis)

I had my down jacket packed but with no snow (including Ben Nevis too ?) I assume it won't be needed. I will have some thermals with me and a decent goretex jacket.

Thanks for the forecast link.

Yes I hope to bring back a few nice photos to show
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby durks » Fri 23 Mar, 2012 12:34 am

Bush Walker wrote:I had my down jacket packed but with no snow (including Ben Nevis too ?) I assume it won't be needed


In an average season, there can be good Winter climbing on Ben Nevis in April (and even later: Point Five Gully's been climbed in May) but, as mentioned, this Winter has been disappointing. There will still be snow on Ben Nevis when you visit, but it shouldn't cause you a problem.

I wouldn't bother with a down jacket (*); a rain jacket, a fleece, and thermals should see you right.

(* In fact, I don't own one. You do see them in use in Winter here when people are stood still belaying, or perhaps camping in the hills in Winter, but, generally, they're overkill otherwise.)
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Fri 23 Mar, 2012 5:57 am

Thanks durks.
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Sun 06 May, 2012 11:28 pm

durks wrote:Have a good trip and, when you're done, post back here to let us know how things turned out.


Well I'm back after attempting three enjoyable climbs of Mt Snowdon (Snowdonia, Wales), Mt Helvellyn (Lakes districts, England) and Ben Nevis (Fort William, Scotland). As we discussed the weather was likely to be the critical factor in my success or lack of it and this proved to be true.

April turned out to be the wettest for over a 100 years in the UK and with it came fogs, snow and cold temperatures at mountain elevations. All three mountains had large areas of snow above 700-800 m, much of which was deep enough to obliterate tracks, and were covered in fog with visibility less than 50 m for much of the days when I climbed.

From a safety perspective, walking poles and GPS/compass were essential. Navigation without compass or GPS was impossible, without a great deal of local knowledge which I lacked.

For the record: turned back on Mt Snowdon after negotiating the Crib Goch and much of Garnedd Ugain, climbed Mt Helvellyn and Ben Nevis
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby durks » Mon 07 May, 2012 11:24 pm

Thanks for the update. You were unlucky with the weather - April this year was definitely a shocker (*) - so hats off for persisting with the effort, particularly if you were out on your own.

I hope, at least, you saw enough of the countryside through the fog and rain to give you an idea of what's around, and to whet your appetite for future trips.

(* And that, after an unseasonably hot and dry March. Weather patterns are definitely getting strange in this country - just as they are in many other parts of the world.)
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Wed 23 May, 2012 9:59 pm

durks wrote:Thanks for the update. You were unlucky with the weather - April this year was definitely a shocker (*) - so hats off for persisting with the effort, particularly if you were out on your own.


Normally I would never walk on my own in rugged terrain, but the expectation that there would be dozens walking the same track as me and that the track would be visible, encouraged me to take the risk. While there were lots of fellow walkers on the Mt Helvellyn track in the Lake district, despite the bad weather, most of the walkers I expected to see on both Mt Snowdon and Ben Nevis did not eventuate and due to my early start and the snow, especially on Ben Nevis, there were no footsteps to follow and no visible track. This increased the risk many fold.

I hope, at least, you saw enough of the countryside through the fog and rain to give you an idea of what's around, and to whet your appetite for future trips.


Here's Striding Edge, which I managed to photograph in one of the rare sunny moments. This is currently my computer desktop screen and well worth the effort to get it.

Striding_Edge_web.jpg
Striding Edge, Lake District
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby durks » Mon 30 Jul, 2012 8:34 pm

There's a TV series called 'A Year In The Wild' being aired on the BBC in the UK just now, and the first episode was all about Snowdonia. There was some beautiful footage both of the general scenery and the wildlife, and also three short segments showing Johnny Dawes climbing in the slate quarries, on Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (a.k.a. 'Cloggy'), and at Gogarth.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l9z10 for more info, and some clips. Well worth a look if you can manage it somehow.
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Re: Day Walking in Scotland & Wales

Postby Bush Walker » Mon 30 Jul, 2012 9:28 pm

Thanks durks.

I always find that after a trip to a new place, in this case Snowdonia, my awareness is heightened to anything relevant in the media.

I don't think the series has arrived here yet but I could be mistaken. I will keep looking.
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