UKC

Tent advice March in the Cairngorms

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 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021

Hi all

I currently use a hilleberg Anjan 2 pretty much all of the time. 3 season use in North Wales with my son.

For my 40th me and Frank are planning to go to the Cairngorms for 10 or so days hiking/scrambling a 50km route leaving the tent pitched and exploring a few days here and there. So far my Anjan has been faultless in some awful weather in Snowdonia. But! It's only supposed to be 3 season will it be suitable for the weather in March? I don't want to spend £1100 on a 4 season hilleberg if not necessary, or for the couple of times a year I might use it. Is there a cheaper option for a weight penalty (maybe alpkit/berghaus Grampian?).

I don't mind spending the money to keep my son safe but not so keen so save me 800g or so.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Keith

 DaveHK 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

The tent you have will work provided you are canny about where you go and where you pitch it depending on the weather conditions. And bearing in mind that march in the gorms could be full on winter to valley level be prepared to sack it and go elsewhere or book into a bunkhouse or b&b.

Are you talking wild camping or campsites and where do you want to go?

Post edited at 18:57
 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Wild camping. I have planned a route to the base of Angel peak, then a big loop around Cairngorm following various paths and rivers

 J101 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Had a Berghaus Grampian for years, used it heavily, loved it and I'll probably get another soon as it's starting to show its age.

Would not want to take it out in full on Scottish winter conditions and March has the possibility of some full on weather. 

 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to J101:

I would keep a close eye on the weather and time my trip, delaying as necessary. I just want to gain experience in Winterish conditions but be prepared enough not to get caught out. Hence taking shelter that will cope with worst case.

 DaveHK 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> shelter that will cope with worst case.

That would be a house.  

I'd place more emphasis on doing what the weather dictates rather than buying a new tent in the hope that it will make you safer in worse weather.

Edit: Also, where are you resupplying and how old is your son? 10 days is a long time at any time of year even for a fit adult. I'd suggest scaling that right back and having plans a,b,c etc.

Post edited at 19:33
 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Agreed! I was worried about the weather turning while I was there unexpectedly. I don't mean full blow arctic survival, just somewhere that will cope with a bad night/day. I've not ventured that far north so just want to make sure I'm not wanting for anything.

 DaveHK 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> just somewhere that will cope with a bad night/day. 

Don't take this the wrong way but you've got that back to front. If it looks bad enough that you'd worry about the tent you have now then it's probably best that you not go with any tent, that's the safe thing. Camping in the Cairngorms in winter is definitely a thing but pick your day and your venue so it's safe and fun.

Post edited at 19:39
In reply to Keith9382:

Unless you have been in a full on Cairngorm winter storm, It's difficult to appreciate how savage it can be-you will need the best that money can buy to survive it intact.

Post edited at 19:47
 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Sorry 10 days but I will lose 2 either end of the trip sleeping in the truck. I Plan to stay mostly low level as I'm unfamiliar with the terrain. Frank will be 8 by then, he has completed many multi day treks in Wales, climbed the North ridge of Tryfan as well as nearly all the peaks in the Glyders, he regularly walks with me nearer home 10+ miles. I plan to walk as far as he can manage each day asses how he is doing and plan a,b and c around that (turn back, adjust route etc). I get the impression that March may still be a bit of a risk so maybe April might be the better bet!

 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to The worst job I ever had:

Lol 🤣 maybe May. Is it really that unpredictable up there? We have been caught out a few times in Wales but nothing has ever bothered us!!

In reply to Keith9382:

It's entirely predictable, given an accurate weather forecast and can be lethal, literally.

 mike123 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382: Your plans sounds like a great adventure for you and your boy . However there are several big Buts ( no rude pun intended  but I just realised …..) as Dave has said the cairngorms I. March can be pretty full on . I’ve ski toured in a t shirt in march and also barley made it out from Ben macdui alive ( really , not being a drama queen , ) good that you say you want your tent to stand up to a day and a night , but what about 5 days of full on storm ? I have three boys and often take them doing stuff that many parents ( not ukc one of course ) would not dream of . Would I take all three of them back packing in the Cairngorms in march ? No . Would I take the oldest who is 14 and pretty switched on and resilient ? Yes , with a good forecast , full on winter kit , 4 season bag , and a winter quasar or equivalent , spare food and fuel for a couple of days . As Many on here will attest , the Cairngorms in winter can be as tough as it gets . Crawling off the plateau in a storm aged 25  with a couple of good mates is a proper good adventure . With one of my ( or anybody else’s ) kids? Hmmm . Maybe not so . 

Post edited at 20:06
 DaveHK 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> Lol 🤣 maybe May. Is it really that unpredictable up there? 

In march there might be no snow at all or it might be blootered to valley level, it might be flat calm or 100mph winds. I'll be totally up front I reckon planning to be out in the gorms for that length of time at that time of year with an 8 year old is a really bad idea. Come up, base yourself somewhere, assess the weather on a day to day basis and do a few one or two nighters in less remote terrain would be my advice.

 Dave the Rave 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

For an unplanned weather event, on a trip planned well for the forecast, and the advice of others followed, can you not double pole your tent?

A new set of poles may be pricey but not as much as a second tent for this occasion and will stand as spares if you should break one.

Failing that, would you be able to plan your route to be near to bothies in case of a tent failure?

That trip over ten days has the potential to be unremittingly cold and uncomfortable even for the hardy, why not do a shorter trip if the weather allows, and take some logs and coal and have a nice time in a bothy, then retire to the tent?. 

Post edited at 20:23
 mike123 21 Nov 2021
In reply to DaveHK: ( and Keith ) I missed the bit about your boy being 8 . What Dave just said. Sorry  . Bad idea. 

 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

All advice is greatly appreciated.

It sounds like March is too unpredictable so a delay is fine.

I have planned to be no further than 4 days out, and in fairness by the time we stop to do the only notable accent and got back to get down for the night we will probably only be 2 days at most from the truck. I was thinking the weather could catch me out for a day or 2 but wouldn't have for seen the weather being far enough out for us to be stuck out for 3 days plus!! Noted.

We will only camp, that's half the fun of the trip. We like carrying everything we need, well that's more me as Frank gets the hump every now and again.

I'm happy to take any advice but it still needs to be an adventure. 

 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

What time of year would you all recommend.

 DaveHK 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> What time of year would you all recommend.

May. And even at that I'd tailor it to the weather. Several days in the rain is no fun.

Post edited at 20:38
 J101 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

May but be prepared for some variable conditions!

Edit: See I've been beaten to it so I would second DaveHK's comment.

Post edited at 20:39
 Dave the Rave 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> What time of year would you all recommend.

For me, late May or early September. You have the longer daylight hours, it’s generally warmer, less wet and fewer insects.

Contrast with March when the clocks may not have gone back, it’s colder, wetter, darker and snow and high winds may prevail.

Plus to a lesser extent, not withstanding Easter, if it falls when you go, fewer folk for any available assistance if needed.

 Keith9382 21 Nov 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks. 

Will it get busy then? One of the main drivers of this trip is to get away from everything. Last time we were in Wales the thing that stuck with me most was Frank moaning about the A5 and the amount of people about. 

 DaveHK 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> Thanks. 

> Will it get busy then? 

If you're used to Snowdonia it will feel very quiet.

What route were you planning? Lairig Ghru and Lairig an Laoigh?

In reply to Dave the Rave:

To third or fourth the time of year - May - generally least things in the air at this time of year. My first longer trip to Scotland was in May, I had great weather, and have been lucky to have it every May since.

 tistimetogo 21 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

It sounds like you've already had some good advice regarding how severe Cairngorm weather can be. I've mostly gone for week long trips in Feb/Mar time and the weather has almost always been fairly stormy. This has been fine for me as I've been able to return to a warm bunkhouse/house every evening after the climb/walk but camping at that time of year in that sort of weather would be tough going (and I like cold weather camping). 

Going with an 8 year old would be very risky/tough if there weather is bad (which it almost certainly will be).

Would recommend summer and even then the weather should decide. I've been caught out and subjected to all four seasons in May too.

 Kalna_kaza 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

> It's only supposed to be 3 season will it be suitable for the weather in March?

If you are lucky over 10 days, it will be amazing. If not, there are few places I would fear more than trying to ride out a full force storm in the Cairngorms. Be prepared for your tent to be destroyed or upgrade before you go.

> I don't want to spend £1100 on a 4 season hilleberg if not necessary, or for the couple of times a year I might use it.

What value do you put on life saving equipment? Using an inadequate tent in winter may remove your options for ever camping again.

> Is there a cheaper option for a weight penalty (maybe alpkit/berghaus Grampian?).

Weight, performance, cost. Pick two and see which are most important to you.

> I don't mind spending the money to keep my son safe but not so keen so save me 800g or so.

A 10 day trip is going to require an enormous pack at the best of times, your calorie intake will need to be massive just to keep warm. It's tricky to reduce weight on a budget without compromising performance needed in winter weather. 

> Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Apologies for the slightly narky responses above but I think your plans are very ambitious even for a pair of experienced adults used to winter conditions in the Cairngorms. Don't underestimate the severity of winter conditions there, it's such a big step up from Wales, the Lakes and most other parts of Scotland. The Cicerone guide to the Munros has a two page "health warning" prefacing the Cairngorm section for a reason.

Some big alarm bells went off in my head when you mentioned your 8 year old son, if something goes wrong how will he cope by himself? Deep snow, falling into hidden streams, tricky navigation in poor visibility due to drifting snow could be lethal for a lone child far from help. And that's just in the glens and corries, higher up other risk factors apply.

I think the most likely scenario is that you get a few days in and find it desperately hard to keep your gear dry, moral up and enjoy the trip, leading to bailing out early with a sense of failure.

Far more enjoyable to stay lower down in a cosy bunkhouse and do a wild camp only if the weather looks favourable. If you are prepared to wait until May then your chances of getting the full camping trip done as planned are much higher.

 DaveHK 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Kalna_kaza:

> Using an inadequate tent in winter may remove your options for ever camping again.

The strongest tent in the world in inexperienced hands may do the same.

 MisterPiggy 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Years ago, younger and dumber, did a couple of winters in Cairngorms using a basic Coleman hike tent. Double skinned, ridgepole thing, very heavy.

We camped in woods near the carpark on the way in to Lochnagar - perfect, sheltered. Also six days just below the ridge before you reach the corrie, digging a hole into the snow to get out of the wind, guying out to buried, snow-filled bags. (and no, we never gave avalanche risk a thought !). Less perfect, as had to melt snow rather than get it from the tarn. Spent a week near Aviemore, less perfect still as had to battle ferocious winds - building a snow-block wall around the tent did the trick. For laughs, we tried a snow hole for our last night; fun to dig, damp to sleep in. (Recommend synthetic bags for Scottish damp.)

But in all our locations, the tent was fine though tricky to pitch in the wind. Held up to snow loading ok, and ventilation was fine.

Suitable for you and your son? Maybe not. Very heavy, tricky to pitch. But did it's two season nature pose a problem, nope. So maybe your Hilleberg will be good enough?

Good luck with the trip - wrap up warm. And bring plenty of books (Kindle) cos stormy days, stuck in the tent, are boooorrriiinggg!

 Keith9382 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Ok. This has sort of gone off track a bit but I see why. Please let me explain.

I don't have the knowledge of the Cairngorms as I do with North Wales hence my original question. I have no intention of taking any risks. I plan to spend 10 days (-2 either end) in the Cairngorms at some point that's not summer with a rough route that I planned 2 years ago before Frank wanted to be out with me. I feel the assumption is that I plough on regardless of weather, the correct gear, and an 8 year old boy.

The whole trip is about me and him spending time together, not trying to complete a preset trek. If we stay in the same place for 3 days as a base that's fine, complete the route in favourable weather, then all good as well.

My question regarding the tent was based on March because that is normally the earliest we venture out, I appreciate the advice on the weather conditions around that time and it is noted. My wife thinks I have issues when I plan a trip, I spend ages researching beforehand, checking weather, packing and repacking rucksacks etc. Perhaps it was lazy on my part not properly looking into the weather before my post, but I was more interested in the capabilities of the tent I have or what I may need.

I'm sorry if any one reading the above may have had some concerns, I'm sure you have all seen things go pair shaped in the mountains. It was not intentional to cause alarm! 

 PaulJepson 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

I've spent a bit of time in the Cairngorms around Feb/March and just had my Tarptent and camped low or in/around bothies. I think people are right to tell you to be cautious but I wouldn't rule the trip out altogether if the weather was looking good.

Around the 50th anniversary of the Cairngorm disaster I am reticent to suggest it but there are always the bothies. E.g. if you camped near Hutchy and a storm came in during the night, you could always escape into the bothy. 

All the caveats about winter & nav naus and appropriate clothing apply though. I would be surprised if you didn't need crampons etc. on any of the munros at that time of year.  

 Keith9382 22 Nov 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

The route I was thinking would run past 2 bothies (1 is closed unless in emergency). I would only attempt any accent on a clear day with min time at any height but it would be more opertunistic than a must. 

In the past I've always planned around the forecast instead of months of the year. Some of the best trips we've had have been in the cooler months, although previous points have been taken regarding the unpredictability of the Cairngorms.

Thanks for the advice 👍

In reply to Keith9382:

Keith- you mentioned scrambling in the OP; then Angel’s Peak. Are you thinking of doing the NE ridge of Angel’s Peak? In March, it would be highly unlikely that it wouldn’t have snow on it, in which case it’s grade I mountaineering terrain, a long way from assistance. Even in May, there’s a good chance of it being in winter condition, and so axe and crampon territory. 
 

i know you’ve got a route planned; but what about walking up the Avon from Tomintoul, to Faindouran bothy and on to loch Avon? Then out either north via strath nethy or south via Glen Derry? In May that would be a fabulous trip, giving a sense of just how vast the Cairngorms are, but following valleys and low (for the Cairngorms!) passes. The area around Faindouran is just majestic, and feels very remote.

In reply to Keith9382:

Centre Parcs claim they offer holidays the weather can't spoil

Maybe worth a look       

 Keith9382 22 Nov 2021
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

AHH most helpful comment if the thread. Thanks for your time 🥱

 Keith9382 22 Nov 2021
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Hey

I've had a look at your route idea, looks good. I came up with mine via the OS app, contour lines etc are not a patch on local knowledge. If I list my route in detail below and why I picked it and see what you think, I based it on tracks that have something to navigate by, judging by some of the previous posts some may not be visible?

So

Start at Coylumbridge parking to the SE. Follow the track through Rothiemurchus to Lairig Ghru. My original idea and this is where angel peak came from was to climb the ridge as you say, but this was more geared for when it would have been just me. However if the opportunity for me and Frank to do it came up I would be keen, but it sounds as though that wont be possible. So next would be to carry on round Carn a Mhaim, meet with Gleann Laoigh Bheag. This would be the only part that would concern me as the furthest point on the route to get back from. I would continue through Glen Derry towards fords of Avon refuge, follow E of Bynack More, around N of creag nan Gall, past Lock Morlich. Done. 

no_more_scotch_eggs-What do you think compared to your suggestion?

Opinions on this were meant to be asked on a later thread but maybe now is a good time to ask?

  

    

In reply to Keith9382:

Your route looks good- and has the advantage over mine of starting and finishing in the same place! I think the crux will be the Lairig Ghru- not done it myself but has a reputation for earning its name, with difficult going over the top of the pass. The stretch round Glen Laoigh Bheag is quite friendly in comparison- low level and an easy walk out to Linn of Dee if needed. The Loch Avon basin is the most serious section- there’s a high pass to cross either north or south, a potentially serious river crossing, and it’s a really long walk downriver if you can’t cross them eg if there was heavy snow or rain.

Don’t underestimate the Cairngorms though, that route is a big ask for an 8 year old. Has he walked that far in more forgiving terrain before?


Overall, I’m not sure I’d cross over to the other side of the range- it’s very committing if you get a couple of days in and the weather turns against you. An out and back from Linn of Dee, into Corrour bothy or the Hutchison hut would be a great trip in its own right, though busy in May; the approach from Tomintoul to Faindouran would be much quieter- we did this a few years back and went over 48 hours without seeing anyone else, except briefly at the Fords of Avon refuge.
 

It’s a magical place though, nowhere else in the U.K. gives the same sense of scale in the landscape… walking in along the moraines by the Dee into Corrour it feels like the glaciers can’t have been gone long

 DaveHK 23 Nov 2021
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Overall, I’m not sure I’d cross over to the other side of the range- it’s very committing 

That was my thought. I've not got kids but I have done quite a bit with groups in the outdoors. Ignoring for now the potential for a serious incident in remote terrain, my experience is that even for kids who really like walking etc it's a fine line between them having a great time and having a shit time. If it tipped over into shit time on the southerly part of that route it could easily turn into something that put a kid off the outdoors for life. To avoid that I'd probably go for a route that allowed a return to the car in a few hours rather than one that potentially left you 2 days away.

Assuming the OP has abandoned the idea of doing it in winter and that young Frank is genuinely able I'd say just doing the loop described in good weather without any additional hills would be plenty. It would also mean lighter bags, 8 days of food and fuel for 2 is pretty heavy, perhaps impractically so as dad will need to carry the lions share.

Post edited at 07:26
 PaulJepson 23 Nov 2021
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I've crossed the river upstream and downstream of Loch Avon and I wouldn't recommend either with a child. 

 redscotti 23 Nov 2021

In addition to all the very sensible comments above, I wonder if you've given enough thought to how long the nights are in March in Scotland? Add dark skies, bad weather and your 8 year old is going to test your limits as an entertaining parent. I've spent many nights with various combinations of my 3 (now grown up) children and even the most resourceful of them would stress out during a couple of days/nights battened down in a small tent. To say nothing of testing my own parenting skills to the limit ☹️...

 Keith9382 23 Nov 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Whenever we go away Frank will always dictate the pace. The ground he can cover impresses me every time we go away! I remember when he was really little around 3/4 i think, still on stabilizers he rode his bike 5 miles along the sea front by us. By 5 he could make 16 miles from little common where i live to Hastings. Now he walks/cycles round our local reservoir which is 13 miles off road most weekends. He has climbed Tryfan twice this year, once climbing down then up a waterfall to camp just below Y Garn. We normally go for 3/4 days but Scotland is so far i wanted to spend more time there. I understand the concern about turning into shit time, something i have experienced. Kids emotions are like a switch, this is why i always camp and carry a tent. Frank will start getting tired, grumpy and stop concentrating on what he is doing. So no matter what time of day it is we just stop, get the tent up and just chill for an hour or two, have a sleep, play a game change the situation. After that he's good to go again. If he's not we stay there and start again tomorrow.

I had a chat with my wife last night. I wanted to involve her and my daughter (Franks twin) in some way anyway, so if i book them both in some probably really expensive spa hotel reasonably near by, from day 4. This would give us the option to meet her at Inverey if things are not going as smoothly as we want.

I'm sort of working on the assumption that unless i go in the summer bag weight will be similar as it will be really cold in May anyway. It would have never been an intention to go anywhere that would require ice axe and crampons, you need to put that down to a badly worded OP. I can carry 18kg comfortably at Franks pace so although weight will be a consideration i cant see it being a problem. 

  PaulJepson - Is there an alternative?

Post edited at 18:35
 Keith9382 23 Nov 2021
In reply to redscotti:

All agreed. Although i think it was established in the first 1/4 of the thread March is out. I just picked March as that's generally when we start getting out again. I think May with a close eye on the weather, and route TBC

 JCurrie 23 Nov 2021
In reply to redscotti:

This doesn’t help the thread any but… In late March the nights will be the same length in Scotland as anywhere else in the world.

To the OP: whenever you decide to come up I hope you have fun. Try to build in flexibility of location and activities to get the best out of the very long trip north 

 scotthldr 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Having read this topic from the start, you have made the correct decision to forget about March for the reasons stated.

The Cairngorms is my local stomping ground and personally I can offer the following advice.

The circuit that you have in mind is long and pretty gruelling in parts and not ideal for an eight year old, especially the 1km before and after the Pools of Dee and the area below Stob Coire Etchachan is as remote as it gets. The river at the Ford of Avon can be impassable at times(I’ve taken a couple of unplanned baths there myself😆). My concern is if anything happened to you, how would your son cope(you don’t need to up the hill to go over your ankle or slip snd hit your head)?

My advice would be to base yourselves on the Northside(Aviemore/Glenmore/Rothiemurchus)of the range where you could easily do three two night mini expeds, that way you will be able to replenish food and clothing from your car rather than carry it all, and if things went wrong you’d only be three hours from the car and should still have a decent phone signal.

Some suitable routes would be Glenmore-Fords of Avon - The Saddle- Strathnethy - Glenmore.

Rothiemurchus Forest- Lairig Ghru - Chalamain Gap - Rothiemurchus

Glenfeshie(Achlean) - Sgoar Gaoith - Mulluch Clach a’Bhlair - Achlean

If you need any further info on those routes send me an email and I’ll give you a more detailed route.

HTH

Scott

 Keith9382 23 Nov 2021
In reply to scotthldr:

Hi Scott, thank you for taking the time to reply.

Sounds good. Ill plot the routes out on the OS app and email them to make sure I have it right, advice for the routes would be appreciated.

Perhaps it will be better to use this trip to get a better idea of what I'm dealing with for future trips. 

I think someone else mentioned what would happen if I was hurt/incapacitated. We go though time after time what he should do. He has a spot gen 3 on him the whole time, he knows how to use it and the emergency message states his age. His bag will always have his sleeping bag, clothes, some food and water. That's all last resort stuff though, the aim is to be careful in the first place.

 mountainbagger 23 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Regarding the tent, I have a Hilleberg Nallo 2, which I did use to overnight under Angel's Peak in the Lairig Ghru in March many years ago.

It was wet and mild at that level and not very windy so of course it was fine. The hard part was navigating our way off Braeriach in zero vis the next day...oof! Personally I would want my nav skills at the top of their game. I had to use everything I had from step counting to handrailing and I was knackered by the time I got to the safety of the Rothiemurchus forest, but main thing was repeated compass bearings as the day before on Ben Macdui weird things happened to my compass and it pointed in completely the wrong direction a couple of times... quite odd ending up back at the summit cairn having left it 20 minutes earlier. Luckily I didn't walk off a cliff edge!

Has anyone else had this on Ben Macdui?

 Dave the Rave 23 Nov 2021
In reply to mountainbagger:

> Regarding the tent, I have a Hilleberg Nallo 2, which I did use to overnight under Angel's Peak in the Lairig Ghru in March many years ago.

>, but main thing was repeated compass bearings as the day before on Ben Macdui weird things happened to my compass and it pointed in completely the wrong direction a couple of times... quite odd ending up back at the summit cairn having left it 20 minutes earlier. Luckily I didn't walk off a cliff edge!

> Has anyone else had this on Ben Macdui?

Dunno. Generally walking downhill gets you to the bottom of your downwards objective?

 Point of View 24 Nov 2021
 scotthldr 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Dave the Rave:

You’ll always get down, what matters is how fast and abruptly you make the descent. Cairngorms is no laughing matter when the clurg comes down and good nav skills are a must.

In reply to JCurrie:

> In late March the nights will be the same length in Scotland as anywhere else in the world.

Will they, though? I'm guessing they will be much longer than those I will be experiencing here in NZ. Sun goes down at 3.32pm in Aviemore tonight, and 9.01pm here.... What am I missing? Anywhere else of the same latitude, I agree....

In reply to the OP: good on you for planning such a great adventure with Frank and taking the time and effort to find out about how to make it reasonably safe, and your willingness to listen to advice. Margins for error get slimmer and slimmer with kids on a trip and many of us have gone through the process of discovering what is minor inconvenience for us big people is a major issue for a cold, tired little one struggling to stay warm. 

I spent a few nights in a Quasar over on Ben Avon in March some years back and it was wild. On a good day the Cairngorms are incomparable; on a bad one, they can be scary - or terrifying even for a fit and mature 8 year old. Hope you have a great trip!

 CurlyStevo 24 Nov 2021
In reply to ben b:

> Will they, though? I'm guessing they will be much longer than those I will be experiencing here in NZ. Sun goes down at 3.32pm in Aviemore tonight, and 9.01pm here.... What am I missing? Anywhere else of the same latitude, I agree....


Scotland has longer days in its summer than NZ does in its summer whilst in winter the opposite is true. At the equinoxes which occur at approx same time globally but spring summer reversed for north/south hemisphere, nearly everywhere on the earth ( except the poles) has about 12 hours daylight (ie late march and late September).

Post edited at 05:49
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> In late March the nights will be the same length in Scotland as anywhere else in the world.

... of the same latitude, on the 21st of march equinox?  Am now, belatedly, with you  

b

 CurlyStevo 24 Nov 2021
In reply to ben b:

Nope - all latitudes (apart from inside the artic circles) have approximately the same daylight hours at the equinoxes try googling it. The rule does break down a bit as your go very far north or south but generally the rule holds approximately.

Its also true that the summer daylight hours are longer at the poles than anywhere else. Generally as you go away from the equator in summer you get more daylight hours in summer and less in winter, so comparing NZ late spring to Scotland late autumn (ie right now) and directly applying that to quite a different time of year like you did is non sensical.

Post edited at 07:33
 JCurrie 24 Nov 2021
In reply to CurlyStevo:

The good side of ukc. You go to bed after posting and when you get up someone has done the hard graft for you. Ta.

I did intend to add ‘almost’ in front of anywhere else in the world. Wish I had now.

 mountainbagger 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Point of View:

> Regarding the problems with your compass:-

Thanks, but it hasn't happened anywhere else apart from the summit of Ben Macdui! Was it the grey man? It did feel a little spooky 😱

In reply to Dave: 🤣 Cheeky! I didn't explain myself very well...I deliberately walked uphill once I realized the compass had been playing up, so that I was back at a known point (the summit). Figured that was safest as vis was poor so started again from there. I wasn't entirely happy until I got lower and could see more.

In reply to CurlyStevo:

Let's not argue about this one. I hadn't twigged the point about the timing of the equinox. I understand that the equinox pretty much defines equal day/night durations, near enough.

I had made an assumption that the March trip would have weather like I used to have in Inverness when I lived there - i.e. I'm not sure given a pretty meaty work roster if I actually saw the sun between Feb and April. 

Anyway - OP, have a great trip whatever you decide!

b  

 Keith9382 24 Nov 2021

Ok, thank you everyone for your advice.

After -

Agreeing the best time to go would be May with a close eye on the weather, the route should be 3 smaller less remote walks, assesing Frank's capabilities, previous experience, the load I can carry, my nav skills (which are good by the way), our emergency arrangements, day light hours compared to NZ, river crossings, 100kmph winds, deep snow, center parc's as an alternative, hopefully putting off anyone calling social services about me, and some stuff about equinox's.

Shall I use my Anjan or get a new tent?

In reply to Keith9382:

> Ok, thank you everyone for your advice.

Just don't ask about how best to mash a potato...

In reply to Keith9382:

If you go in May; and do the shorter trips as suggested; and camp in the valleys rather than high up; then a 3 season tent will be ok. You will have a weather forecast which will be pretty accurate for the duration of each ‘mini trip’, and you will adjust your goals accordingly; and even if the tent fails, you will be only a couple of hours downhill walk along a clear track to a road.

I camped up by Loch Einich in late September a few years back. There was a strong wind blowing from the south off the plateau and down Glen Einich, strong enough to raise curtains of spray 100 ft high and whip them the length of the loch. We had a Terra Nova solar 2, which is a 3 season tent, and it was fine. My brother’s Terra Nova laser 1 struggled through the first night, and he was up frequently making pitching adjustments. The next day we climbed Braeriach, very windy indeed going up past Loch Coire an Lochain, got soaked by spray being lifted by massive downdrafts from the plateau. The wind dropped as we crossed back toward the tent past Einich Cairn, but it was obvious from 2000ft above it that the Laser was not in good shape. When we got back to it, it was damaged beyond what we could repair on the hill, and it would be dark in a couple of hours. 
 

but no great crisis- we walked back to the car, and found alternative accommodation for the night. Had we been on the other side of the hill from the car, or in the Loch Avon basin, it would have been very different. 
 

so, your tent will be fine; and in the unlikely event it isn’t, your car, and the services of Aviemore, will be there as a backup.
 

Enjoy the trip- sounds like a great adventure for you both! 

 PaulJepson 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Keep an eye on the Cairngorm summit weather station as well. One thing about spring is that the snow from high up could be melting and the rivers could be in spate.

I wouldn't totally rule out March, as it can be a very stable time of year in terms of weather. You could easily get a week of blue skies. I went to the highlands a few years ago in march and was rock climbing in a tshirt for about a week. The week prior had recorded 15 degrees on the summit of Cairngorm.     

 rif 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Some thoughts from another Cairngorms local:

The circuit you suggested, over the Lairig Ghru and back by the Lairig an Laoigh, is about 55 km (34 miles) according to OS Maps, or slightly less if you start/finish at the L Morlich outflow. That doesn't seem excessive spread over 5-6 days; it took me a day and a half with a camp in Derry Woods.

The main thing I would be worrying about is the Fords of Avon in the event of heavy rain. That might be an argument for doing the circuit the other way round, so that if the river is dangerously high you have a shorter retreat. 

Angel's Peak is probably the hardest of all the possible side excursions, not so much because of the scrambling (which is very easy) but because it's pretty much pathless all the way and once you're on top the return is indirect and needs good navigation. The Devil's Point would be easier (lower and good path all the way), and/or up and down Carn a' Mhaim from the Luibeg Burn. And from the N side of Fords of Avon you should walk up to L Avon for a superb view into the head of the glen.

 Keith9382 24 Nov 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

I'll be honest I didn't think too much of mentioning March in my first post as I have previously found the forecasts to be more accurate. I have a small boat and tend to get out in that more in March than April/May due to the weather being more settled.

 PaulJepson 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Keith9382:

Yeah, if you get a nice bit of high pressure then I think you'd struggle to name a better time of the year in Scotland. No midgies and you can walk with the sun on your back in a light fleece. 

 Keith9382 24 Nov 2021
In reply to rif:

I will complete that circuit, but will do it on my own first another time. I remember fist seeing the view as you walk up to angle peak in a guide book a couple of years ago and being blown away by the picture. It was the reason for the whole route more so than the side scrambles. The rest of the route was worked out from OS maps with what looked like the easiest features to follow if navigation got tough.


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