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I'm pretty much all done apart from my FWAs. Is it possible to do a FWA to the Lairig Ghru without losing a day? I'd really like to keep to my original finishing date (and know which day that's likely to be in advance) for reasons of onward transportation and time off work.
My main route is Coylum Bridge to Derry Lodge via the LG in one day, then the following day Derry lodge via Braemar to Callater.
I have mapped the FWA route as approx. 60km from Coylum Bridge via Glen Feshie to Braemar (happy to stop there for the night and add the Braemar - Callater bit onto the following day), which is potentially two 19 mile days in old money. I am quite happy with the distance itself from previous experience, but the feasibility would depend on what's underfoot. Possible? Possible but not for sensible consideration? Or not possible?
Ruigh Aiteachain to Braemar is quite possible, a long way but on a good track/path (a bit exposed over the top). Camping further up Glen Feshie will make it easier but it is a very nice Bothy if the weather is bad.
Thank you. I thought I could aim for the bothy as worst case scenario, then if I got there and weather and legs were good, I could just crack on as far beyond there as I felt like, and camp further up the glen somewhere.
I did similar distances last year - Newtonmore to Eidart Bridge, then Eidart Bridge to Callater Lodge. For me that was 8.5-9.5 hours walking each day - I’m probably around average pace for challengers.
The walking is easy with gentle climbs and (mostly) good paths (there’s some erosion at the top of Glen Feshie where paths have been washed away). Navigation would be straightforward in bad weather.
I had bright sunshine on the first day and prolonged rain on day 2 (neither days weather would have put me off doing the Lairg Ghru if that had been my first choice). Really bad weather would slow you down a bit
Ruigh Aiteachan is a splendid Bothy which has been lovingly restored in recent years. It will almost certainly be busy, but there’s lots of space to camp and it would be sheltered in bad weather.
Lots of camping spots at top of Glen Feshie/Glen Geldie, but they’d be quite exposed if the weather was really nasty.
Last year there was quite a tent city around Eidart Bridge (around NN910885), and it would probably be possible to get out of the wind there.
I suspect you don’t have much choice for an FWA to the Lairg Ghru - Glen Avon/Glen Builg means a big dog-leg to get to Braemar.
I suspect praying for good weather wouldn’t satisfy the vetters, but if your prayers are answered, the Lairg Ghru followed by Lochnagar will offer three days of glorious walking.
Email sent Lindsay..
You will be in Newtonmore, Kingussie or Aviemore the day before Coylum Bridge and you will likely phone in to Control. Get a weather report when you do. At that point you will likely be able to make your decision at that stage and go directly to Glen Feshie if needed.
Foul weather generally takes a day or two to brew up (not always) so you get some warning.
That is basically what I put in my route cards. Decide at Kingussie.
In the worst case you can simply do the long route via Glen Feshie. I've done Kingussie to Linn of Dee in one day when I had to.
My plan is the same as Colin's. However, I'm not sure if the Lairig an Laoigh to the E is an acceptable FWA as it doesn't get quite as high as the Lairig Ghru. If acceptable, this may be a simpler option if you're already in Coylumbridge...
Re the Lairig an Laoigh, yes and no. The route over the shoulder of Bynack More is fine, with a wide unmissable path, do-able unless conditions are extreme. The Fords of Avon though is the killer, an impassable torrent if in spate, so onward progress to Braemar could be completely blocked. You can still go via Ballater, using the Avon, Builg and Gairn paths.
Hope that helps.