Saturday, 31 May 2008

Glen Tilt - Corrour Bothy

Saturday 24th May

Today was the start of a couple of big days; not in distance or high gained but in what we would hopeful get to see.

After yesterday's early start, we had a lie-in and didn't get started until 9:50. While packed up I noticed a small hole in the groundsheet of the tent, there didn't seem to be anything under the tent to cause this, so I don't know how it got there.

Again; the paths were the same as yesterday, easy to follow and easy of the feet.

As we started to climb, the views started to open out the show the higher peaks still with snow on them.


Snow covered peaks

On the way to Bynack Lodge; we realised that we had crossed the watershed as the Allt an t-Seilich was flowing Northwards, where yesterday the streams had flowed South.

As the weather was so good and there was no need to rush, we stopped at Bynack Lodge for elevenses.

bynack lodge

Bynack Lodge

Now came the first test of our river crossing skills as the path we wanted was on the other side of a fairly wide stream. Keith seemed to bound across like a gazelle, leaving me to wondered where was the best place to cross. Eventually I made it across without any drama's and dry feet.

The path along here was pretty non-existence and we just headed in a Northerly direction occasionally following deer tracks, eventually we joined up with a Land rover track which lead us to the Geldie burn.

The Geldie burn crossing was the biggest river crossing we would encounter, it was also the thing I was worried about most. I'm not very confident when crossing rivers, even stepping stones can be a problem for me.

We did had a scout down the burn to see if there was a better place to cross but ended up back at the main crossing point. As I had been warned about this crossing I had come prepared. So it was off with the boots and on with crocs and sealskinz socks.

As usual Keith seemed to cross in a flash, and as usual I was more tentative. I was about 1/4 of the way across when a young lady came bounding through the burn only stopping to have a quick chat (she was in training for the Braemar to Aviemore marathon).

The rocks under the water had a green slime on them which made them quite slippery the water also seemed deeper than the height of the sealskinz and I expected the water to go over the tops.

Gldie Burn

Crossing the Geldie Burn

I finally made it across without to much trouble; the sealskinz worked a treat no wet feet.

One thing I did find out though; putting your boots around your neck isn't a great idea, as they tend to block the view downwards to where your feet are going.

From here it was only a short distance to White Bridge, along the way we saw a young deer pop out onto the track about 20 metres in front of us. To begin with it didn't know we were there but once it sensed us it was off like a rocket.

We got to White Bridge just on 13:00, so stopped for lunch. This seemed to be quite a busy junction, as there were many people passing by. We were due to meet up with AktoMan (Duncan) at some point during the day. So while eating lunch I kept an eye out incase he passed by.



We stayed at White Bridge until 14:00 then decided to start up Glen Dee, as we weren't to sure how long it would take to get to the bothy, plus we were hearing tales that there could be a lot of people camping up there.

We set off up Glen Dee and noticed a hiker coming towards us, just as he drew level I remembered that AktoMan had said that Big Galloot was walking in the area. "Are you Big Galloot, Big Kev?" I asked. "Yes" was the reply, we had a quick chat about the weather, scenery and general outdoorsy stuff. I asked Big Kev that if he bumped into Duncan, to let him know we were continuing up the Glen. We then set off again on our routes.

The track up Glen Dee starts out as an easy walk up to the Chest Of Dee, this early part follows along side the river.

chest of dee

Gradually the path start to move away for the river and climb up. We saw very few people on this part of the walk and although we could see the Devil's Point it never seem to get any closer. after climbing to around 550m we did finally meet someone coming the other way but still no sight of the bothy. They stopped to have a chat and said that the bothy was about a further hour walking. Although the walking hadn't been to bad, we had been walking for quite some time and it was demoralising to know we still had an hours walking ahead.


Corrour Bothy

We finally arrived at Corrour Bothy about 17:00. There were quite a few people milling around but no tents pitched yet, so while I chatted Keith looked around for a decent pitch. There was a couple of chaps already settled in the bothy and the rest of the people were only resting up after a day up on the tops.

While we were pitching up a few more people were coming of the mountains, there was an American couple who pitched up and other two chaps came down and pitched.

Shortly after this Duncan turned up. Once he was pitched we stood around chatting and watching the deer bounding pass.

Duncan had also bought along some treats, some sake and some of Darren's overflow food from his recent TGOC. Thanks to Duncan and Darren for these.

By now the sun had dropped below the mountains and it was getting chilly plus Duncan haven't eaten, so I disappeared into the tent to get some shut eye.

ATHiking...the Podcast

I've just come across this new-ish podcast. ATHiking...the Podcast, a podcast about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

So far there are only 4 episodes, with the latest being with Sarah from Freezer Bag Cooking.

I'm downloading them now; so haven't listened to any yet but should be good for the morning/afternoon commute.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Blair Atholl - Glen Tilt

Friday 23rd May

Although we were on a sleeper; we didn't have a berth but instead were in the airline type seats.  These seats were reasonably comfortable and Keith got his head down down fairly early, I was quite happy to watch the stations flashing by.

At Preston; I decided to try and get some sleep as it was about 23:45. From the time of leaving Euston, we were facing towards the direction of travel.  When I awoke at Edinburgh we were travelling backwards, when you've just woken up this can be very disconcerting.

I dozed off again and woke at Perth, which meant we were getting closer to our destination.

The train finally arrived at out starting point; Blair Atholl at 6:30 and after sorting out out packs we were off and walking by 7:00.

As we had everything we needed for the trip we didn't go into the centre of the village but made our way straight out to Glen Tilt.

Some of things I was hoping to see on this trip were; Red squirrels, Red deer, Highland coo's and maybe find some stag antlers.

The early part of the walk through Glen Tilt is in woods, and this gave us a chance to see some red squirrels; although they are a lot more nervous than they grey cousins and don't hang about to long.

Glen Tilt slowly climb up and way from Blair Atholl and eventually opens out from woods to open fellside.  This part of the walk felt like walking in the Howgills.

Glen Tilt    

Glen Tilt

About 11:00 we stopped for breakfast, we found a nice spot down by the river just South of Clachghlas.

Most of the tracks were either Land rover tracks or good defined paths, so the walking was pretty easy.

Although it was overcast we had good views up & down the Glen and also on to the tops of Carn Torcaidh, Meall Gharren and Dun Beag.

By about 15:00 we arrived at the Falls of Tarf, this was one of the places I had earmarked as a possible wild camp but the areawasn't as flat as we hoped.  We decided to have luch there and then move further up the Glen to find a pitch.


Falls of Tarf

As we left the Falls of Tarf, we started to climb again and also left the River Tilt behind, we then picked up the Allt Garbh Buidhe.

We finally camped about halfway along the Allt Garbh Buidhe after covering about 14 miles.

Challenge Video 2008

Cameron has a two part video on the TGO challenge over on his site. Darren makes another appearance but it seems to be the same interview from this one.

It will be interesting to see if and when the TGO challenge will appear on the Adventure Show.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Don't Panic!!

Thursday 22th May

As usual for me, stress levels were running high in the lead up to this trip and this meant a last minute repack of some equipment before setting off.

I arrived at Euston at 19:40 to catch the 21:15 night train, at is point there was no sign of Keith but that was O.K. as we had plenty of time.

Euston like most urban railway station's nowadays doesn't have to many places to sit, on the concourse; so it was either in the restaurants or the bars. As it was quite warm I decided to sit outside with the smokers *cough*.

About every 10 minutes or so; I would pop back into the station to look for Keith. By 20:15 I was starting to get worried because there was still no sign of him, a call to his mobile came back with the dreaded "the phone you are calling is switched off".

After some frantic calls to SWMBO to get Keith's home number. I phoned his house to be told that he didn't have his mobile with him and that he had left at 17:30 or so.

By now I was getting really stressed out, as it was about 20:40 and the train was already boarding. Another call to SWMBO to help calm my nerves, when all of a sudden I saw Keith walking across the concourse.


He had decided that instead of using the underground, he would walk from Victoria station to Euston but didn't reckon with all the crowds.

After this little panic the train journey was easy and relaxing.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Cairngorms 2008

All the pictures from the walk are now up and ready to view on Flickr
or can be viewed on the viewer below.

I'm still working on the trip report and the video.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Back Home

I'm back home with hopefully plenty of pictures and video from the Cairngorms trip in the meantime here's one from the collection.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


4 Brunch Bars (2 Raisin 2 Cranberry & Orange)
2 Quaker Oats (1 Apple & Blueberry 1 Sultanas, raisins, cranberry & Apple)
5 Packs Mini Time-out wafers

1 pack noddles plus black pepper & lime tuna
1 Uncle Ben's egg fried rice plus chicken pieces
1 Beef pasta soup

1 Expedition food Rice pudding & cinnamon
1 Expedition food Custard & mixed berries

8 Nescafe 3 in 1 coffees
8 Tea bags
4 bags of mini hobnobs

2 bags of Mike & Ike

1 big bag of GORP

Total weight 2065g

I think that's pretty good for 4 days food; although I would like a bit less chocolate but I can never really find anything to replace it with.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Spot Personal Tracker

The TGO challenger who used a SPOT personal tracker to call for assistance when suffering severe abdominal pains; has been interviewed by Cameron McNeish.

Link to interview

Sunday, 18 May 2008


I'm sitting here; typing this when really I should be getting my equipment sorted out for my trip to Scotland at the end of this week.

I don't know why but sometimes I find it really difficult to motivate myself into doing this kind of stuff (the packing that is!)

Yesterday; I spent most of the day, trying to find food to take on the trip. For an activity that is helpful in reliving stress, it sure does seem to add to the stress levels as well.

Adding to all this is whether I'm making the right equipment choices, do I have the correct maps, will I remember the train tickets and the biggest hurdle; that SWMBO is not really that comfortable about me being away for 5 days.

I have always said that I would stop backpacking when I reached 50; now this is still three and a bit years away but I feel the time to stop may come sooner than that.

I'm starting to think that this trip could well be the last one.

Friday, 16 May 2008

May 24th

May 24th is the day that the E-Petition ends. At present the total stands at 1,842, now although this is a great number of signatures, it would be nice to have the E-P finish on or over 2,000.

If you are a British citizen or resident and are reading this but haven't signed up, please take a look and help to push it over the 2,000 mark.

Back when the E-Petition started bloggers and outdoor people who supported the E-P were encouraged to write to their MP's. I sent a letter in the middle of February; to which I still haven't had a reply.

Over on BG!'s site; he recommended using TheyWorkFor & to 1. find my MP (I knew who this is anyway) and 2. to write to them (again).

On the 5th May I sent another letter to my MP through

Having a bit of spare time and looking through the numbers on; it seems as though my MP doesn't response to letter through this site to well.

Her figures for last year read as follows:-

Placed 557 out of 637
Received 149 letters
Replied to 37 out of 102
Replied within 2 or 3 weeek to a low number of messages sent via during 2007, according to constituents.

So I`m not holding my breath on a reply any time soon.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Lets go fly a kite

I've just bought a 1.4m Radsail kite but as usual the weather changes and there is little wind around to fly it.

There was just enough on the local heath to try the kite out though.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


After last week's little trip; I decided that I would need some new equipment before  my forthcoming trip to Scotland.

The first piece I felt needed a change was my cook pot, so I ordered a titanium pot and pot cozy set from

The Ti pot is a Vargo one  which weighs in at 130g and with the cozy comes to 160g. This is about a 100g saving on my previous cooking pots. The pot's capacity is about 750 ml but this is full to the brim, it can easily hold 500ml of water and I can't every imagine needing to boil anymore than this for a meal.


Ti Pot, Pot Cozy, Primus Express

Next up was a trip to Cotswold Outdoors today to get some gas, while there I was looking at the stoves and after the problems I've been having with the Pocket Rocket, though it might be time to invest in a new stove. After look at the three gas stoves that Cotswold had instore the clear and outstanding winner was the Primus Express.  This weighs the same as the Pocket Rocket but seems to have a bigger and better flame, on a test this afternoon it boiled 300 ml of water from the tap in 4:35 minutes, this was using a half full 100 canister.

The pan supports are much larger, which means it can take larger pots and they look to be a lot more stable.


Primus Express


(top) Express in bag

(bottom) folded up


I also bought a light my fire meal kit, this kit consists of two plates, a spill-free cup with lid, a combined colander and cutting board, a "spork" and a small waterproof box.  I bought the kit mainly for the spill-free cup (as it seems you can't purchase this separately). The cup holds 300ml and has measurements at 100 ml so will help went measuring out liquids.  The cup is called spill-free because it has a lid with a hole to drink through; although if knocked over I would imagine liquid will still leak out.  The lid does help to keep the liquids warm for longer.

The Spork will replace my lexan spoon & fork so save a tiny bit more weight.



Light my fire spill-free cup & Spork

Friday, 2 May 2008

Weekly Film Winner

Last week; Michelle over at Love In A Tent posted about live for the outdoors running a competition for homemade movies on the subject of the outdoors.

I entered a 60 second version of my Dales Way trip from last year and amazingly it won the video of the week; for this week.

The prize for a weekly winner is a year's free YHA membership, so now I'm the owner of a YHA membership.