Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

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Dave Barter
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Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Dave Barter »

OK so it's me and you know the outcome..but hopefully you'll enjoy the journey

http://phased.co.uk/the-highland-trail- ... r-attempt/
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

Dave, I genuinely salute the pair of you. Truly proper 'adventure' not the soft, suger-coated nonsense people are swallowing - well done.
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Dave Barter
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Dave Barter »

Thanks, we're having a go at the Big Bear on shopper bikes next ;-)
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whitestone
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by whitestone »

Nice one and fair play for having a go :-bd There's a fine line in getting the right conditions - what's fine low down often makes for hard work higher up and vice versa. Scottish winter weather also tends to be fleeting - AKA effin' windy! Looking at the, limited, number of winter attempts at the Ramsay Round you see something similar.
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by sean_iow »

That sounds like a proper epic, chapeau to you both for trying.

As there is no mandatory kit requirements for ITTs it sounds like you'd of been better off without the bikes and just walked round :lol:
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by AlanG »

Very entertaining! I saw Andy a few weeks ago, I wonder why he never mentioned this?
This wasn't the first attempt I'm afraid. A chap had a go back in December and got to Laggan Wolftrax so just a bit further than you two.
Since this seems to be a thing, what definition of winter shall we go with, December, January and February or December 21st to March 21st? I'd go for meteorological winter.
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by htrider »

Fair one guys, that was defo proper hardcore! Think I may just have to make my way up to Ben Alder over the next few weeks
I'll avoid making any fat bike references but I reckon that mid March is the best bet for a winter attempt - possibility of firm consolidated snow (or no snow as per last year) and everything below 500m will likely be snow free. I guess the problem is that the highest bits are in the first 100 miles thereafter pretty much everything is below 500m until Fisherfield and so will likely be OK. That said the west got properly clobbered last week so thank your lucky stars you stopped when you did!

Looking at the forecast for the next month if anyone is planning on attempt number 2, forget it :mrgreen:
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ScotRoutes
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by ScotRoutes »

Welcome to the Highlands.

Riding at this time of year is a lottery. We make of it what we can, and that can be exceptional. It can also be dire and the variability of conditions makes an multi-day ride a gamble.

In many ways the start and end of the HT550 route will offer the most extreme conditions. The West Coast is often the most stable and dry area, but with short days and a dearth of restocking points a full-on winter HT550 (by whichever definition) will be an epic achievement.
Last edited by ScotRoutes on Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by whitestone »

"Winter" is an interesting if hard to pin down concept in the UK. For the Bob Graham Round it's a slight variation on the dates used for Alpine climbing http://www.bobgrahamclub.org.uk/index.php?page=winter, ultimately though it's down to honesty: despite the date does it feel like a winter round? Further to what Alan says, the months of December, January and February have sufficiently short days that it "feels" like winter. Even now in mid February it's starting to feel like winter is over, certainly any snow that falls now here in Yorkshire is unlikely to last as the ground isn't frozen. It's not spring though!
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by ScotRoutes »

I'd say that it doesn't really feel like winter up here until January. That's when the majority of the snow arrives and what might be dry and cold becomes icy. Personally, I'd go with the astronomical calendar, but then Imbolc (1st/2nd Feb) is also regarded as the start of Spring.
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Dave Barter
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Dave Barter »

Winter is as defined in my article... Wading through snow.
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psling
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by psling »

Another beautifully written piece Dave, always to be enjoyed.

Can't get the vision of star-jumping deer out of my mind now and as for "...and nodded off to the sound of snow falling silently to the ground, well I shall be straining to hear that all winter now :cool:
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by ericrobo »

Good effort Dave and Andy...

Got me thinking: if you had been 2 or 3 miles along the Ben Alder singletrack... and further down fallen into a stream and got wet, all in the dark, would you have been able to get your shelter up, get a brew on, and survive ?

Hopefully yes, and with two of you chances are a lot better.

I used to have the reports of all the Bob Graham attempts (and done at least half of it when I was in the support team for somebody) but the most outstanding effort was an RAF pilot who did it on his own (first attempt failed in bad and misty conditions), carrying his food and clothing....

So what about an HT550 Winter solo ?
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Chicken Legs »

ericrobo wrote:So what about an HT550 Winter solo ?
In the conditions like we had last weekend it wouldn't be sensible to be on your own, if you had the misfortune of an accident in a remote section it's unlikely
anyone will find you and it could turn nasty pretty quickly.
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by In Reverse »

What a fucking stupid thing to do. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by ScotRoutes »

I've done various sections of the route solo in winter, including the bit from Merkland to Achfary. It certainly feels remote and you do have to ride with an added degree of circumspection.

Then there's the whole Spot Tracker discussion. Perhaps one for another day.
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by htrider »

Chicken Legs wrote:
ericrobo wrote:So what about an HT550 Winter solo ?
In the conditions like we had last weekend it wouldn't be sensible to be on your own, if you had the misfortune of an accident in a remote section it's unlikely
anyone will find you and it could turn nasty pretty quickly.
Nah, they'll find you in April! :shock: I think a Cairngorms loop in winter should be the first goal, then the HT. I mean it can't be any worse than the ITI can it??
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by benp1 »

Completely bonkers, good effort chaps
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Dave Barter
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Dave Barter »

htrider wrote:
Chicken Legs wrote:
ericrobo wrote:So what about an HT550 Winter solo ?
In the conditions like we had last weekend it wouldn't be sensible to be on your own, if you had the misfortune of an accident in a remote section it's unlikely
anyone will find you and it could turn nasty pretty quickly.
Nah, they'll find you in April! :shock: I think a Cairngorms loop in winter should be the first goal, then the HT. I mean it can't be any worse than the ITI can it??
Won’t the river crossings me a total mare?
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by ScotRoutes »

Not if they're all frozen :lol:
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by htrider »

ScotRoutes wrote:Not if they're all frozen :lol:
plus they were anyway both last April and the August weekend I did it 2014 :mrgreen:
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by jam bo »

Would doing it on ski’s count?
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Dave Barter
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by Dave Barter »

jam bo wrote:Would doing it on ski’s count?
Definitely. As I was pushing up past Ben Alder I said to Andy that conditions were perfect. In fact that's got me thinking of an even madder idea...
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by htrider »

Unless we got an exceptional winter you'd be doing a lot of walking.....
Don't let that put you off however :-bd
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Re: Highland Trail - First Winter Attempt

Post by ScotRoutes »

I'm still waiting for that exceptional winter that'll let me fatbike through the Lairig Ghru.
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