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Best time/routes for Scotland
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/22/2009 10:17:11 MDT Print View

Hi! A few friends and I have decided to backpack Scotland for about a week next year. Looking for any and all ideas/suggestions as to routes that take us away from cities into backpacking country! We are all experienced backpackers. Also wondering what the best time of year to backpack Scotland would be.

Any assistance is much appreciated!


Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/22/2009 10:26:55 MDT Print View

The best month is May and for a week you should look at the North West. Torridon, Fisherfield are all superb. One area worth consideration on the east for me is always the Cairngorms. Check the blogs for routes and PM me for any advice.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/22/2009 10:29:51 MDT Print View

Hi Douglas.
What kind of route are you looking for? Mountain ridges that you will need navigational skills on? Low level route? Or a waymarked trail?
What distance would you be happy covering each day?
You could have a week of solitude, with just meeting the odd fellow hiker, or you could camp by a pub every night for a social side to your hike as well. For such a small country, there is a lot of varied terrain.
If bugs bother you, then the midge can be a real pest to the unaware. They can gather in their thousands! The midge season starts about May/June, and ends about September/October, with the biggest hatch being around June to August. They are only a problem at rest or camp, and easily dealt with by suitable clothing, and bug protection in your shelter.

b hitchcock
(slowoldandcold) - F
scotland on 08/22/2009 16:39:27 MDT Print View

i hate midges so i would go last week in april/first week in may----for routes try and meet mike in his (proud to be a jock) more forthright mode

Peter Atkinson
(sewing_machine) - MLife

Locale: Yorkshire, England
Scotland... on 08/22/2009 16:57:09 MDT Print View

Deffo early May!

I agree with Martin, a few days wild camping in Fisherfield Forest is just so so ace! Some good hills, the coast, great rivers, wildlife, solitude... in my opinion the best of Scotland; 3 or 4 days here, then onto Skye... what an ace holiday!!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Scotland-thanks for the tips so far! on 08/22/2009 21:48:21 MDT Print View

Hi all!

Thanks so much for the info so far. Martin, I may get in touch as I get along with my research. Mike, I'm looking at 10-15 miles or so per day (certainly no less than 10, more than 15 isn't a problem). I prefer the solitude route, and while I have no problem taking a route that requires navigational skills, I'd prefer not to outright bushwhack. And I'm not a huge fan of midges (though I'll be sleeping in an MLD bug bivy with a patrol shelter cover, or a Tarptent, haven't yet decided)! A buddy and I rode our bikes around Scotland, camping along the way, about a decade ago. We went through many a midge field (we called them high protein zones)! b, thanks for website link!

What kind of temps can I expect in May?

Thanks again everyone!


Edited by idester on 08/22/2009 21:49:11 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/22/2009 22:51:36 MDT Print View

Hi Doug,
The temps and weather in May can vary from week to week. (hour to hour in fact! :) With Scotland getting its weather systems from the Atlantic, it is almost impossible to predict. You might get a week of blue sky, or a week of rain. The temp might drop below freezing at night, although probably not, and rise into the 50's/60's/70's during the day. Not much help, i know! :) June has been quite a good month for the last few years too.
Another site to check out is Lots of good info on there.
The areas being suggested are all good, and the West/North West coast has some beautiful scenery. An unofficial (unmarked) trail runs some 200 miles from Fort William to Cape Wrath at the NW tip of Scotland. An internet search should give information. Using a section of this would give a basic route that you could customise to suit yourself.

More forthright 'b'?, i don't know what you mean. :)

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 08/22/2009 23:23:59 MDT.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
What kind of temps can I expect in May? on 08/23/2009 00:04:54 MDT Print View

Any !!!

From my limited experience of Scotland

I have been hiking there twice and in may.

In 2007 West Higland Way ( Glasgow- Fort William )i was recovering from back injury so i could have a bag carried for me every day ( lots of elder do this hike its easy and services of this kind are easy to get )
The landscape is great , even if sometime close to road, and you can socialize / drink / eat haggis.
I got sun burned , there was 0 midges , only some tics.

In 2009 i did the south part of cape wrath trail , starting at Fort William


( the photo is blurred from rain drops , and what you see is supposed to be a path...)

The weather was "Scottish" rain 24/24 7/7 ( even a little snow ), so no risk of midges.
But there was no fog so we enjoyed terrific landscapes, definitly one of the hike i liked the most.


My wife and i are planning to go back to do another part of this trail
Maybe in 2010 , Scotland in may and Patagonia in november, that would be nice :)

So as Mike said CWT in may is a great idea.

My only regret is i love fishing when i hike, ( we ate a dozen arctic chars, salmons , cabillaud this summer in Greenland )but seems its very complicated there , you need to buy a permit to fish according to the river/lac you want to fish in , no global license, that doesnt go well with hiking.

Edited by Fre49 on 08/23/2009 01:11:28 MDT.

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/23/2009 11:13:05 MDT Print View

The North West Douglas


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/23/2009 15:01:13 MDT Print View

Martin! I'm sold! The northwest it is! :-) You're also a Terra Nova fan, correct? Would a single-wall Tarptent be suitable for Scotland in April/May? Or should I go and buy a Laser? :-)



Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: Re: Re: Best time/routes for Scotland on 08/24/2009 06:31:58 MDT Print View

I also have a Scarp 1 which I like except for the high cut flysheet. Henry is updating it with a lower cut flysheet. I would get a Scarp which will be solid in its performance on a multi day walk in Scotland. The Laser Competition is superb, but some struggle to get it pitched right. A single wall might be OK - but it is a damp environment and condensation is going to happen. An Akto is also a sound choice.

Chris Townsend has written an article on walking in the Highlands on BPL. Search for it as it has useful information on it. Good waterproofs and insulating jacket for camp are a must. It can snow, rain and be warm all in a day in May. Some folks use tarps but the add lots extra guy points to cope with the wind. Up high is the way to go. Bag some summits and remember the paths are often poor, or not there.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
when will extended adjustable Scarp 1 fly be available? on 08/28/2009 00:37:45 MDT Print View

Hi Martin, do you know when the Scarp 1 will be available with a lower cut adjustable flysheet? That was my issue with the Scarp, which is otherwise a very nice design.

Martin Rye
(rye1966) - F

Locale: UK
Re: when will extended adjustable Scarp 1 fly be available? on 08/28/2009 05:59:54 MDT Print View

Henry is saying October. Fingers crossed he has no technical delays.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: when will extended adjustable Scarp 1 fly be available? on 08/28/2009 06:00:57 MDT Print View

From Henry:

"Yes, the Scarp 1 fly is undergoing a revision for the next production run and, yes, the fly will be lower (but maintain the ability to vent through the ends, sides, and top). Production timelines are a little up in the air due to ongoing Moment and Hogback production but those tents will be finishing up in about 10 days and then we'll set a schedule for the Scarp 1."

Don Ashton
(dash1730) - MLife
Scarp 1 revised rainfly is a reality on 12/22/2009 10:26:36 MST Print View

I just got an email from Henry announcing the availability of the new rain fly. He says:

As some of you know, the Scarp 1 has been revised for 2010. You can see the changes here.

We would like to offer you an upgrade to the new version at our cost of production. The price is $100 plus shipping and you will need to transfer over your existing poles, stakes, lines, and interior.

The new fly is 2 ounces heavier than the prior version but is noticeably warmer with improvements to fly tension, venting options, and crossing pole corner pole clasps (visible but not identified in the photos).

Should you upgrade? If you have been using the Scarp 1 in varied conditions and happy with performance then I think there is no need to upgrade. If you have been using or intend to use the Scarp 1 in colder, 4-season conditions then, yes, the fly will perform better for you.

We have some stock now and more on the way so the wait time should not be too long if you decide to upgrade. For our production planning schedules, we need to make this offer time dependent and the offer will expire February 1, 2010.

Please click this link if you wish to upgrade.