So our route has been submitted for vetting, we’ve received our feedback and responded to the requested changes and now we wait for the final approval. The comments we received were, as always, very helpful and extremely detailed. Only a couple of minor tweaks and one FWA (Foul Weather Alternative) to amend.
Update: We now have approval, the vetters are happy and rubber stamped our route!
Our group consists of Pete (my brother), Dean (DeanRead.net, PeakRoutes.com), Tim and Andy (I met both on 2017 TGO). We’re starting at Mallaig and finishing at Lunan Bay, approx 300km.
The first day we get the ferry (approved crossing) to Inverie and make our way to the first wild camp, easing into it slowly with 25km and 1100m ascent. Day 2 is a bit of a ball buster, 40.5km but only 400m ascent. We arrive at Laggan Locks for a nice meal at the Eagle and camping by the Caledonian Canal.
Day 3 is a nice easy short day with only 16km and 700m ascent, should give us some time to recover as we ease into the daily routine of walk, sleep repeat. Day 4 presents our first Munros of TGOC2020, Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Càirn Liath. 21km and 1000m ascent to our wild camp. We also see our first FWA here, if we take this then we head directly to Spey Bridge / Newtonmore, 38km and 275m ascent, a long day. Day 5 should takes us into Spey Bridge / Newtonmore following a cycle route 7 north to the campsite. This will be our first resupply location along with some admin such as washing kit etc. If we took our FWA on Day 4 then we’ll spend day 5 resting in Newtonmore, nice!
Day 6 we leave Newtonmore and into Kingussie before heading East into the Cairngorms. Again we have another FWA choice, head north to the Cairngorm Club Footbridge our main route or South via the river Feshie, 30km 240m and 22km 230m. Day 7 on our main route takes us up over Ben MacDui (another Munro) and down to Derry Lodge for a wild camp, 24km 1150m. Our FWA takes us to White Bridge.
Day 8 we leave the Cairngorms and into Braemar, easy 15km, where we have the bunkhouse booked at the Lodge Hotel. This is usually a good night in the Invercauld Hotel bar! Day 9 a short stroll down to Lochcallater Lodge, 15km. Day 10 (a slow start is expected) we either take the main route over Jocks Road to Glen Clova 21km and 500m, or loop around to Shielin of Mark (we may go over Lochnagar instead). If we take the planned FWA that means a 31km 1300m day. Day 11 is the end of the wild rugged landscape and suddenly becomes flat, arriving at Tarfside from Glen Clova or Shielin of Mark, both are a fairly easy ~18km 200m days.
Day 12 is the same as my 2017 route, we leave Tarfside following the road for a short while before going to the cafe for a nice breakfast. Then we follow the river and what is known as the Blue Door route into Edzell. Beers in Edzell are inevitable. 20km and 130m day, piece of cake. Finally Day 13 the last leg of the epic adventure, we navigate B roads and various villages before plopping out onto the beach at Lunan Bay.
Next job, kit selection.