By: Blonde One
A walk up Creag Bheag
A walking B1 first has just happened in the form of following a pre-planned route by Country Walking Magazine. If you’ve never read a copy of this magazine before then you don’t know what you’re missing! It’s full of interesting stories and suggestions for where to go on your next adventure. It has tips for what to put in your rucksack, how to do the technical bits related to walking and it also an excellent selection of walks all over Britain to try out. The suggested walks are taken from across the country and include some easy, some moderate and some challenging walking routes.
Whilst I was in Scotland I tried out one of their moderate routes. The magazine has a cut out section on thicker paper for you to take out with you. It includes a detailed map, taken from Ordnance Survey, several photos and a step by step guide about how to get around the route. The one I walked was just north of the village of Kingussie, where I was staying, and covered 4 miles with a little optional extension. I also downloaded the route onto my phone from the most excellent OS Maps, so I felt fairly confident that I would not get it wrong! As always I had my trusty paper map and compass to fall back on should the need arise.
The route was well way marked anyway but it was good to be able to follow the magazine as it gave information along the way.
We climbed up the 487 metres to the top of Creag Bheag and were treated to 360° views across the tops of the Cairngorm mountains. Luckily it was a clear day and the views were absolutely stunning; it was well worth the climb. We ignored the suggested 2 hour time for the walk and decided to stop and enjoy the views at the shelter at the top. It was the perfect lunch spot as we were protected from the biting wind.
After a steep descent down to Loch Gynack we decided to go for the optional extra bit and walked up the edge of the Loch.
All in all, I would strongly recommend Country Walking routes as a way of confidently heading out into an unfamiliar place, I enjoyed using OS Maps but it’s still best, particularly in cold weather when battery life can be limited, to carry a map and compass, and of course, know how to use them.