Archive for March 27th, 2013

March 27, 2013

Go west – a spot of Challenge training

by backpackingbongos

This time in six weeks I will be at Euston waiting for the sleeper train up to Fort William.  It’s come as shock that the Challenge is coming around so quickly.  There is the realisation that I am going to drag my carcass from one side of the Highlands to the other.  The truth is that I am proper unfit, I havent even been on a proper backpacking trip this year.

Thankfully the Easter weekend means that I have five whole days off in a row.  However finding some peace and solitude in the hills at this busy time could be difficult.  A couple of weeks ago I came up with a splendid route across the Monadhliath.  I had visions of exploring hidden corners and striding across high rolling moorland.  However after the huge dump of snow up there recently I think this could be a challenge too far without snowshoes or skis.

My eyes wandered west across my map to a wild and rugged land just across the Corran ferry.  Here long low-level glens bite deep into the mountains, a perfect alternative to the arctic plateaus further east.  I have come up with a route that takes in the full length of both Cona Glen and Glen Scaddle.  Linking them together will be a traverse of almost the full length of Loch Shiel.  Nothing too exciting and mostly along tracks, but through remote country.  Seventy kilometres over three days is pretty similar to the first three days of the Challenge, but with less climbing.  I can’t wait to pitch my tent for a few nights in scenic glens.


This will be good for developing a bit of Challenge fitness, however there is a plan B on the back-burner.  I’m going to pop my ice axe and crampons in the boot of the car.  If it’s not wall to wall snow and the snow line is high I may do a bit of bagging instead.  A wild and remote camp and knocking off a few Corbetts unencumbered by a pack is rather enticing.  I’ll make the decision on the ferry……………………