Cairngorms Epic - Day One
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There are only nine mountains over 4000 feet in the UK. Join ODL to climb three of them in one epic weekend!
Day one of our Cairngorms epic weekend! Braeriach, the third highest mountain in Britain, and one of the most remote, is our target for the day. We'll start by hiking through deep ancient forests, before reaching the treeline and beginning our ascent. We'll pass deep corries and cliffs that often hold snow right through the year, following a narrow ridge which will eventually take us to the summit. We'll be right in the heart of the wilderness, with views down into the famous mountain pass of the Lairig Ghru, across to Ben MacDui, and north to the forests of Strathspey.
We'll keep our eyes open for wildlife as well, which up here includes eagles, ptarmigan and the UK's only free-ranging herd of reindeer!
After enjoying the stunning views, we'll drop down into Glen Einich for the trek back to civilisation.
After the walk, we will probably head into Aviemore for some food. Why not make a weekend of it, and join us for day two of our Cairngorms epic on the Sunday? There are plenty of B&Bs, campsites and guest houses in and around Aviemore.
Please note that this is a long hard day in one of the most remote parts of the UK. Whilst we will hopefully get some good weather, the conditions in the Cairngorms can be very harsh at any time of the year, with even mid-summer snow not unknown. Make sure you are prepared for a tough day - the mountain is not technical so you don't need to be able to climb/scramble, but you will need to have some decent stamina.
What to bring
Boots: Hiking boots are arguably the most essential piece of kit when hiking just about anywhere. Walker’s should make sure that their boots are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support. Boots should also be in good condition.
Socks: Walking socks are often overshadowed by those new to hiking, with many novices failing to invest in proper socks. Good walking socks are essential in regards to keeping the feet dry, and in turn stopping the development of blisters. Sports socks and other socks not designed for walking will often become waterlogged, or damaged which will in turn blister feet.
Gators: Gators attach to the bottom of walking boots and extend to just under the knee. They provide waterproofing for the bottom half of the leg, and are essential in keeping the feet dry.
Walking Trousers: Walking trousers should be of a windproof design and made of a rip stop material, that will stand up to walking through ferns and undergrowth. They should also ideally be water resistant, or at least not gain weight, and lose their insulation properties when wet. Jeans are therefore to be avoided, as they are heavy when wet and provide no protection from the elements.
Waterproof Trousers: Waterproof trousers are essential in keeping the legs dry, as water resistant trousers will not keep out any significant rainfall. Walker’s should look for waterproof trousers that are breathable, in order to avoid being soaked with sweat.
Base Layer: A breathable base layer should be chosen in order to let sweat escape from the body. This should ideally consist of a breathable synthetic, specially designed fabric, though a cotton T-Shirt is sufficient.
Mid Layer: A Mid Layer goes on top of the base layer and should consist of a 100 weight micro fleece, or a rugby typed thick shirt. The layering system is important as it allows walkers to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature.
Outer Layer: The outer layer should consist of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece. This is the final layer and walkers should ensure that this layer provides ample warmth.
Waterproof Jacket: A good waterproof jacket is one of the most important pieces of kit you will require when hiking. Walkers should look for a jacket that is both waterproof and breathable in order for them to be protected from sweat. Materials such as Gore-tex are often the best choices.
Hat: As most heat is lost through the head a good hat is essential. The best hats are those of a fleece design, with wool also being acceptable.
Gloves: Gloves are essential in the colder months as walkers will require the usage of their fingers for various activities such as map reading. Windproof or better still waterproof gloves are the best choice.
Rucksack: A good Rucksack that is comfortable to wear is essential, and required to carry both food and equipment. Day sacks should have a capacity of around 30 litres with equipment being placed in water proof bags inside.
Emergency Equipment: A number of items should be taken in case problems occur whilst walking in the hills. Emergency equipment becomes of greater importance the further from civilisation walkers are. Equipment should include spare food stuffs of high energy, a survival bag, a whistle, a medical kit, a torch and something to make fire, either storm proof matches or a firelighter.
Food & Water: At least two litres of water should be brought for each day hiking, with more being taken if cooking is required. Enough food for the duration of a walk should also be taken. Food should be of the high energy variety, with hot food being able to be eaten raw if necessary.
Map & Compass: Bring a map and compass if you are interested in doing some navigating practice!
Mobile Phone: A mobile phone should also be brought and kept in a waterproof bag for use in emergencies.
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch and ensure you also have plenty of water and spare food in your rucksack. In particular, make sure you have enough water for a long day on the hills.