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Grantown on Spey - 3 nights
October in the Highlands can be quite a spectacular time (if the weather plays ball!). With the tourist season winding down for the year, but before the winter kicks in, we are planning to get out more to explore Speyside - an expanse of hills, pines and whisky!
At this time of year the days are getting short, so we will have a leisurely weekend of discovering the Speyside and area in late autumn; what we get up to will depend on the weather at the time. We have natural landmarks locally such as various walks around the River Spey and the Cromdale Hills. If the weather turns wet we could always take a short drive north into the heart of whisky country and discover one of the many distillery tours or take a short potter south to Broomhill and jump on a vintage train on the Strathspey railway.
As a small group we will have a discussion each night to decide what we will do during the two days.
What to bring
The main activity planned for the weekend is to explore the area, good walking boots are a must along with clothing for any weather. At this time of year the weather could do anything, so have a look at the forecast a few days before coming to give you an idea of what to pack.
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: A good comfy pair of walking socks is essential really; they keep your feet warm and drier than normal socks.
Gaiters: Gaiters attach to the bottom of walking boots and extend to just under the knee. They provide waterproofing for the bottom half of the leg. They are not essential to have but you will feel the difference if you have them when walking through muddy or boggy ground - which is almost guaranteed in Scotland.
Walking Trousers: You should have a suitable pair of trousers for walking in, jeans are not suitable as they take on water when wet and will make you cold. The same goes for jogging pants/tracksuit clothing.
Waterproof Trousers: Waterproof trousers are essential in case of wet weather. They are also good to be worn as a second layer as they can act as a windproof barrier, keeping the legs warm.
Base Layer: A breathable base layer should be chosen in order to let sweat escape from the body. This could be a cheaper sports top or you could go top of the range with a merino top, as cotton T-Shirts can become damp and uncomfortable when climbing a mountain.
Other Layers: On top of your base layer, you can have a variety of options such as a micro fleece, a fleece jacket or a rugby/sports top can sometimes be good. Having one or two additional layers gives you flexibility when the weather is changeable – the more layers, the more flexible you can be in adapting to the weather.
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 but they can be expensive unless you shop sensibly, don’t forget your OutdoorLads discount for Full Members at Cotswold outlets.
Hat: As most heat is lost through the head a good hat is essential.
Gloves: Gloves are essential in the colder months, 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. As an option you could store your items in waterproof bags inside just in-case or ensure the bag has a waterproof bag to pull over the top.
Emergency Equipment: The leader of the group will normally carry some emergency items, but you are welcome to bring your own such as spare energy food, survival bag, personal first aid kit, head torch and a whistle. It is not essential that you bring all or any of these items but it will do no harm if you do bring.
Map & Compass: If you want to learn to be a leader or you just like to know where you are, then you can bring a map that covers the area. If you are not sure which map to bring, just message the leader. It is best to bring your map either in a map case or purchase maps which are waterproof.
Mobile Phone: If you choose to bring your phone, then you are well advised to buy a waterproof bag or if that is not possible a simple food/freezer bag will suffice.
Food & drink
Friday evening - please bring an item for the buffet. Be imaginative, but please be considerate with how much food you are bringing as we aren't feeding the Royal Regiment of Scotland!
Saturday & Sunday breakfast and dinner is included in the event price, along with Monday breakfast.
Please bring your own lunches.
Tea & Coffee at the hostel is included in the event price.