Having had our vetters feedback and responded to the adjustments the route is now approved and finalised.
The comments from the vetters were both very helpful and extremely thorough containing not just sound route advice but some great tips on places to visit. Equally they provided a suggestion on what to avoid, namely the new wind farm currently being constructed at Stronelairg on the Monadhliath (mainly due to the heavy construction traffic/machinery in the area).
“…. You have put together a very adventurous route considering you have not backpacked in Scotland before. The weather will very much dictate whether you get all your tops done or whether you have to follow your FWA at times. Your route sheet was well presented and you have obviously put a lot of thought into laying out your FWA routes….”
The minor adjustments the vetters requested were to add a few additional way points/grid references to assist challenge control in following our route.
“…On your FWA today for Saturday, could you add extra way points between start point and getting to Lochan na Beine (for Challenge Control purposes). You have quite rightly put in a FWA if unable to get across the river at Fords of Avon as this water rises quickly and is potentially dangerous to try and cross in spate….”
Also the addition of one extra phone in point.
“….As your first phone-in point is on Monday 15th at Fort Augustus, we recommend that you try to phone in before this, given the difficult route you have planned. If you do follow your high level route, calling into Challenge Control would be advantageous so they are aware of your progress. As you can imagine, no phone calls until Fort Augustus would leave a very big search area in the event of you having any problems….”
Our day 2 did attract some concerns however…
“….You have set yourself a very difficult day today, even if the weather is in your favour. Take care on the ascent up towards Falls of Glomach as it slopes away steeply nearer the top. Extra care is needed in high winds, especially when carrying a large rucksack. To attempt the ridge from the Five Sisters all the way along to Aonach Meadhoin is a huge day for any hillwalker. In addition you have the extra distance from your overnight halt plus carrying heavy rucksacks. We appreciate you have put down points on the ridge (escape routes) where you can descend to pick up your FWA. These hills are very steep and some ridges end with ground you would not want to descend. In bad weather/poor visibility, this will be dangerous. We think you should seriously consider changing your planned high route for today. We are not trying to put you off your adventurous route, but feel we need to stress the huge undertaking you plan for your second day….”
Rather than change the planned route we’ve reviewed the “escape routes” which we feel offer safe (with some care) access off the ridge down to the FWA. The FWA for this day will be a nice route so if weather or indeed our enthusiasm mandates it then we’ll be happy to make use of the FWA.
The final route sheets are below, click to enlarge: