Weather and food, mainly
I'm planning on doing a week's wild camping at the end of October in the Arrochar Alps/ Crianlarich, taking in anything I can get my hands and feet on, but probably mostly Munros. Provisionally, I'm aiming to camp wild and not really drop low-level except to resupply and cross valleys.
However, this will be be first time I will have wild camped, so I was hoping to get some advice from the more experienced among you.
Firstly, it will be the end of October, so is it realistic to plan a week of wild camping, if the weather is going to be awful? If so, are there many bothies in the vicinity that could be utilised? I would prefer to avoid campsites and bunkhouses, as I'm on a budget, but mainly because I want to savour the wilderness.
Secondly, what would people recommend in terms of food? I'm not intending to carry or cook fresh food, and have no qualms about living off boil in the bag etc. Any good suggestions about relatively cheap filling stuff? However, how much food can one carry realistically - three or four days' worth?
> Any good suggestions about relatively cheap filling stuff?
Have a search for 'food' http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/search/forum/
Plenty of threads on the subject, including some recent good ones.
For lightweight camping, take dry foods. Carrying wet food like Wayfarer means you're just carrying a lot of water.
Firstly, it will be the end of October, so is it realistic to plan a week of wild camping, if the weather is going to be awful? If so, are there many bothies in the vicinity that could be utilised? I would prefer to avoid campsites and bunkhouses, as I'm on a budget, but mainly because I want to savour the wilderness. - Wrote Ltd.
So then, yes it is realistic as a goal, with much prior preparation of the necessary bits of kit for your needs there; including preparation of the basic wild camping skills too you will require some good knowledge of to see you through.
Bothies info, go check out here maybe. http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/
Some useful sources of info online for you here above Ltd, maybe.
More good info here above too possibly, as well.
NB - The Harvey map of the area might well be a good one for you to get here. But not from this place online here at link though, as they're just a little expensive on stuff really. I only put in the link here to show you the map exists really.
If you do get all-in completely soaked through by heavy rain at all out there upon your travels in these parts, it is perhaps worth noting that the YHA places in the area do have some excellent kit drying rooms available to their guests!The one at Crianlarich is particulary good, a pal long ago told me in particular I think.
Do you have good compass skills by the way, Ltd? Might be a whole lot worthwhile in doing a quick compass skills course maybe, as you may well find you really need the advanced compass skills out there you know! As visibility on some of the higher ground there in mist and fog can go down to a few yards or even less, on occasion hereabouts in really awful weather!The ability to navigate skillfully by map and compass is often most key at such times as those.
First time, wild winter camping.... not the best combination, but don't be put off. God has a warped sense of humour and decided that he will bestow on me an uncontrolable urge to wild camp...and that he will make that urge be at its strongest in the middle of winter - so I too started my ventures during the wet and cold. My first was an absolute disaster (see the thread elsewhere on the forum) and resulted in me chasing my (erected) tent across the boggy moors at 4 in the morning when the wind decided to pick it up and take it for a flight.
What got me down more than anything over those two days (yes, two) was the cold and wet. Granted I had a shit tent back then (little more than a garden tent) and was hopping around inside trying to avoid the four inch pools of rain water. I've never been happier to see my own bed back at home.
So the only advice I can really offer for winter camping is that you make sure you have a tent that you know will keep out the hardest and most persistent of rain. A high spec sleeping bag and good mat will also be essential. As for provisions, I find that anything dried, which can simply be cooked in boiling water is perfect (packets of flavoured pasta or rice). Other good foods: Beef jerky, cereal bars, chocolate bars, nuts, seeds. For cooking (unless you intend to use open fires) I cannot reccommend the Mini Trangia enough (£20-ish) . This little beauty is absolutley storm proof and will boil a pan full of water in about 3 minutes.
Having said all that, Ray Mears reckons you can survive sub-zero tempertures with a good fire and a shelter made from materials provided by nature herself.
I envy your trip. Good luck.
Thanks for all the replies, everyone!
I am now feeling ravenous after skimming through some of the comprehensive threads on food!
I'll continue to trawl through them for their accumulated wisdom, and rack up a massive appetite for lunch. Whoop!
Trevor, thanks for the word about navigation and safety. I have good nav skills, having done lots of walking in the past. I will have Garry Paul Smith with me as backup and think an emergency bothy shelter would be wise, as well as helpful for wet lunch breaks.
However, the magority of my inexperience, I feel, is the the area of food and pack weight - I don't want to have to lug masses around. From Arrochar to Beinn Narnain it's over 3000ft of bad boy slogging. Nice. Resupply and use of supplies will alleviate the weight though.
I guess one of the ways to find out is to give it a go, which I'm well up for, but obviously will focus on staying safe and sound, if not a little wet at some points!
As Trevor advises, I would definitely get some basic wildcamping skills before heading out for a week in genuine wilderness.
Halfway up a mountain in the pi**ing rain driven by a force 5 wind is not the time to find out that it is more difficult to pitch your tent than it was in the back garden on a still, sunny afternoon.
Try at least one and preferably more, shorter trips just to make sure that you have the kit and routine to stay out for the night in (reasonable) comfort.
Yeah, I accept Trevor and your advice about getting experience before an all-out effort. It's good to see that people are looking after each other here.
Anyway, I had a further question about tents which relates to pitching. I have noticed a lot of posts about inner- versus outer-first pitching, and just wondered whether someone could explain the difference and how that relates to pitching a tent in bad weather, or direct me to a relavent thread, please?
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