This is a classic expedition into a remote area by foot and canoe. Loch Ericht is 25km long providing natural access to the Ben Alder massif and a host of other Munros, ridges and high passes.
An ideal expedition in ideal conditions would be:-
- One day canoeing and sailing to the first campsite
- One day canoeing and sailing to the second remote campsite
- One day climbing one or two Munro's and traversing along an awesome ridge
- One day walking back exploring the amazing site of Ben Alder lodge
Practice expedition (generic to all gold expeditions except the Spey descent and Mountain Biking)
Participants will be met at the Kingussie train station on day one. From here we will canoe down the river Spey to a wild camp at Loch Insch. Basic boat handling and safety skills will be taught along the way. On day two we construct catamarans/sailing rigs and practice on Loch Insch. During the afternoon we will pack the canoes away and hike around 14 Km up Glen Feshie to wild campsites. On day three we climb east onto the Carn Ban Mor plateau taking part in mountain craft skills before descending into Glen Einich for the final wild camp. On day four we walk out North to Aviemore train station via the ancient Rothiemurchus forest.
Participants will be met at the Dalwhinnie train station. From here we walk a short distance and prepare to Canoe/Sail South down Loch Ericht to the first camp. On day 2 we aim to reach Alder Bay from where we explore the Glens and high tops of Ben Alder. On the evening of day 3 we begin the Canoe/Sail back to Dalwhinnie station camping on route. This trip is weather dependent and may vary on the day.
The format of the expeditions is very weather (wind) dependent so be prepared to either walk or paddle. We can leave any unnecessary gear at Dalwhinnie.
The best method of travel for both practice and final is by train from Aberdeen changing at Inverness for either Kingusssie or Dalwhinnie.
On the water
The canoes will be built into two boat rafts and paddled by 3, 4 or 5 persons. In addition an ‘A’ frame and sail can be built for wind assistance. The rafts are very stable and require only basic strokes to manoeuvre however a high degree of team work is required to make good headway.
Clothing and equipment
Bring your normal hiking kit with the addition of good strong trainers or wellington boots for use on the boats. The best way to view your clothing system is is to think of it as one which can cope with wind and rain when you’re working hard walking up a hill or static sailing down the loch.
We issue tents, stoves and all related canoe and safety equipment. Canoeing groups will have a number of waterproof barrels for these items plus your walking boots etc. As the journey will be completed in part on foot you will still need your rucksacks. Whilst on the water these will be carried in the canoes and will probably get wet from time to time. It is therefore vital that everything is dry bagged inside the ruck sack.
For your part please do not bring items made of cotton as they will not dry out and you will not have space for 4 sets of warm dry clothing if its wet each day. In addition there may well be midges in the evenings so we need to be able to cover up exposed skin and put a midge net on.
Before setting off you will be able to leave behind in the van any travel clothing or anything deemed unnecessary to carry on the hill so bring along a small grab bag for such items.
Refer to the kit check list if uncertain.
If you are inadequately kitted out we cannot allow you onto the water or hill
A 4 day supply of food can get heavy if we find ourselves walking for the whole trip because of poor wind and water conditions. Think about the nutritional value and the weight of your food before coming out and consider eating heavy items first whilst providing yourself with a balanced diet for the duration.
The camping locations are best described as wild and magnificent. At the bottom end of the loch we have no phone signal and we are a long way from any vehicle tracks and outside assistance. With this in mind we need to be vigilant with our personal and group safety and protect our health with best toilet, drinking water, cooking and general hygiene practice.
This is the real deal in terms of a remote adventure - a genuine mission.