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I should have asked this question earlier but.
We have to avoid challenge hotspots like Braemar. Does avoiding a hotspot mean that I can't walk into Braemar, buy food for the walk and then walk on to camp at Loch Callater or similar.
Also, I assume that Ballater and Aviemore would also count as hot spots.
I know that last question is probably in the challenge notes but hopefully I will get additional information from those who have already had their routes vetted.
This is really a question for Ali & Sue as Challenge coordinators. But my interpretation, if I were participating next year, would be to avoid the places you mentioned if possible. If you have to pass through do so with as little interaction with residents and other Challengers as possible. At certain times during a "normal" Challenge some places e.g. Braemar can have as many as a hundred Challengers either passing through while re-supplying or staying overnight. During the present and continuing virus crisis no one could think this an acceptable practice but I believe it would be reasonable to spend a short time buying food or stopping for a meal if this is allowed under the Covid rules applying at the time.
These are my own thoughts on Colin's question and not those of the Challenge organisation.
See below from Ali and Sue. It looks like you are ok passing through. My route avoids most of the hotspots luckily. Best of luck.
“With regards to Braemar we are happy to accept new routes that pass through the village but ask that they do not stay overnight. Those whose 2020 routes stay in Braemar may still do so but please ensure you have accommodation booked (including the campsite) before you set off. We would ask that everyone who is thinking of staying on the playing field at Tarfside considers alternatives. Please bear in mind the offer of camping and food at The Burn near Edzell.”
Hi Peter, Scott
Thanks for your input.
The problem of avoiding hot spots is that anywhere around the Cairngorms that has a decent sized shop is by its nature, a hotspot. Even Braemar the biggest hot spot only has the small Co-op.
Aviemore and Ballater both have supermarkets but they have lots of tourists also.
As the feedback from Sue and Ali suggests, passing through Braemar only stopping long enough to buy food and a take away is looking like the way forward.
You could always prepare a resupply parcel. The Braemar Mountain Sports shop has dehydrated meals too.
I must admit it was good to get the supermarket in Aviemore last year