/ Scottish winter without a vehicle

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salix on 12 Feb 2013
Hi all

I'm based in Edinburgh, and looking to get out to do some easy winter routes, but lack a vehicle. Wondered if people had good recommendations of accessible routes/venues that could be reached by train and bike or bus? The arrochar alps are definitely an option, Aviemore and the ski bus, corrour and a fair walk, into the ben from fort william - just looking to tap the wealth of experience on here for ideas of how to make the best out of limited time and daylight!
Roberttaylor - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to salix: I've had a fair bit of experience with this.

SW highlands, get train to Bridge of Orchy and walk
Go to Ben Udlaidh if there is ice, if not go to Creag Coire an Dothaidh

Cairngorms are easily accessible by train and bus (train to Aviemore, bus to ski station) From there loads of different crags are available, depending on how much you enjoy walking.

Ben Nevis, get train to Fort William

Glencoe, you can get a megabus/citylink thing to Glencoe village (ask them and they will dump you anywhere on that road though)

While Scottish winter sans car is possible it is so much easier to drive/get a lift.

Hope that helps, good luck.

R
jfmchivall - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to salix:

Options (and this is advice for a general audience as you probably have explored these already):

1. Join a climbing club and get lifts with folk in exchange for petrol money, belays and banter. Or try the lifts and partners forum here on UKC.

2. If you need to use public transport, going away for longer trips will make the most of the longer travel time - a couple of nights away will allow two decent days, rather than away and back in a day with only time for a short day on the hill.

The Ben Alder area is good for a weekend trip: train to Dalwhinnie, flat-ish cycle to the bothy. Long & Short Leachas and Alderwand on Ben Alder, Lancet Edge just across the way, lots of ice in the corrie behind that. If you like a nice long walk, you can go right through to Corrour station but getting a bike along there would be a pain in the backside once you're off the stalker's path.
Jamie B - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Find some climbing partners with cars? Your options are quite limited without.
Jamie B - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Er, Beinn Udlaidh is at least 5 miles down the road from Bridge of Orchy station.
prog99 on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
Take a bike and hope the road is clear?
whispering nic - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B: the Creagh Dubh Club or the Rock and Ice wouldn't have thought twice about a wee stroll to get to the crag...
In addition to Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, Bridge of Orchy, Rannoch Station etc there are buses that pass through Arrochar, Aberfeldy, Crianlarich etc - in short there are loads of opportunities, and if you find other motivated climbers you should get a good range of opportunities to get out and about.

Cheers
Nic
Jamie B - on 12 Feb 2013
In reply to whispering nic:

> the Creagh Dubh Club or the Rock and Ice wouldn't have thought twice about a wee stroll to get to the crag...

It's true, and for the first 14 years of my mountaineering life I shared their travails. Then I bought my first car and it became immeasurably easier - I'm probably a bit bigoted as a result.

The Ex-Engineer - on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to salix: In addition to the obvious destination of Aviemore and the Northern Cairngorms, I did a trip to Lochnagar by public transport a long while ago. I can't remember the details but it worked well enough.
prog99 on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to salix:
Train to Tyndrum & Ben Lui central gully would work quite well. Again, bike useful on the approach.
Doug on 13 Feb 2013
In reply to salix: Hitch ? used to be quite common & not to difficult to get from the central belt to eg Glencoe, Fort William, Aviemore
Bob_the_Builder - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to salix:

I think this topic somes up every year, and there is always loads of advice, both good and bad. I've been in Edinburgh 4 years now with no car, and after a fair few mini epics (many without even getting to the hill I was aiming for) I can safely say that finding partners with cars is the best option.

I am a keen hitch hiker, but in the Highlands in winter its a bit of a tall ask. It also means that the 3 hour drive to the start of the walk in requires a day set aside, as does the return. It shouldn't take that long but sometimes it does.

Public transport always seems to get you close but not quite there, and again takes twice as long as a private car.

Joining a club might work, I've never really tried it. The best option I've found is making a plan with someone on UKC or at your local climbing wall! Sometimes you even become friends afterwards.

Without a private car, any Highlands winter trip becomes an adventure, which is really cool, but not good for getting much actual climbing done, and also very bad for getting back in time (and a fit state) for work on Monday.
a13x - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to salix:

I did the Aviemore train ski bus combo the other week. Main problem was that the 1st bus leaves quite late (like 7:30am) but overall works really well.

Alex
salix on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to salix:
Many Thanks for all the advice, It seems like either getting a decent length trip is needed, or finding friendly folk with cars.
Keep your eyes peeled in the partners section ;)

Will
Roberttaylor - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B: I know. Hasn't stopped me walking it on a Friday night with camping gear and climbing kit. A bit far for a day raid perhaps but perfectly doable with an overnight.
Roberttaylor - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to a13x: If there are enough of you there (6-8) be the one to show the initiative and call a taxi for that number. I've done this a couple of times, I've seen it work out cheaper than the bus. Faster too.

R
Roberttaylor - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to salix: Yeah, a car is probably the single best piece of climbing equipment available. One day...
Erik B - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to whispering nic: a key aspect was/is the the network of dosses throughout the highlands
whispering nic - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Erik B: True, but for example..

Leave Edinburgh Waverley 1742h Friday night, arrive Aviemore 2025h. Go to Pub. Eat. Go to hostel. Sleep. Get first Bus up to Ski area 0730h be in a Northern Corrie by 0900h, complete at least two routes, get bus back down, go to pub, eat, sleep, get first bus up to Ski area 0730h be in a Northern Corrie by 0900h, complete at least two routes, get bus back down, get train at either 1710h or 1930h if you have an epic to be back in Edinburgh either 2030h or 2230h.

Similar adventures possible from Buchanan St Bus station to Arrochar, Glen Coe, Ben Nevis etc. Secret Bivvies in the Coe are a Bonus but not entirely essential!
In reply to salix: I lived in Glasgow for 4 years without a car and climbed most weekends. To start off with we often would go up on friday night by bus, camp and try and do something, but camping by the pubs in Glencoe is now not allowed I think, plus you still need to be really motivated to get things done. We realised that day trips on the bus were much more doable, including twice in weekend. Early bus out of Glasgow to Arrochar, S. Highland or (later season) Glencoe, do a route - rush for the bus home. Proper food, shower, warm bed and then its doable again the next day if you really want. Not sure if Edinburgh is quite as easy though...?

Camping is great sometime, and if you camp away from the pub that gets round the warming temptation to go in all evening! I did most of trip to the Ben camping up towards the CIC, but if can be rough in harsh weather.
Heddwyn - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to salix: 07.15 train to glasgow, 08.30 bus to arrochar (oban bus), get dropped at cobbler car park (im sure they'd drop you in glen croe also), then 20.00 bus back to glasgow, then 21.30 train to ed.

getting the same train in the morning/night, you can get to tyndrum lower station to do ben lui in a day, which i did last week. excellent day out.

more day hits are probably possible, just haven't tried them yet.
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rallymania - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to salix:


https://sites.google.com/site/newjacobitesmountaineeringclub/

might be a good option? I'm pretty sure a couple of UKC'ers are members

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