The Scottish Oat Route … Job Done!

A team of senior school pupils from Knox Academy, North Berwick High and Dunbar Grammar School returned on Wednesday from an 8 day , 160 km expedition climbing, and walking between, all of Scotand’s 4000 foot Munros.

We traveled up to Fort William and started off with the round of the 4 Lochaber 4000 footers;  Anoach Beg, Anoach Mor, Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis. A big day,  lots of ups and downs, but glorious weather.  Highlights were teetering along the knife edge CMD Arete on perfect warm rock, blue skies and the views out to Skye and Rum  from the snow covered summit of The Ben (pictured above and below).   Lots of snow, and some skiers still skiing the gullies.

 

After a second night in the excellent Steall hut the group walked across Scotland for 5 days to the Cairngorms. Our route took us up Glen Nevis, across Rannoch Moor, through the Ben Alder Forest, over the A9 at Dalwhinnie and over to Glen Feshie. Some long days, but mostly in glorious  weather,  just a spot of rain before Dalwhinnie, but never a midge in sight at any of the camps!  Food drops had been left at Dalwhinnie and Glen Feshie Lodge so we were never walking with more than 3 days supplies.

The next 2 days were over the  tops of the Cairngorms. The 3 western 4000 foot mountains of Braeriach, Angel’s Peak and Cairn Toul were completed in a long day in deteriorating conditions.

The day ended with a ‘sting in the tail’ just before the descent into the Larig Gru.  The exceptionally large quantities of snow of this year had  left a steep snow bank and small cornice blocking the descent off the plateau to our camp by Corrour Bothy. Luckily the snow was pretty soft so after kicking some steps the group were able to descend safely.

The last day was ‘touch and go’ as to whether we could cross the plateau again and climb the last 2 summits.  By 7 am the very strong winds which has buffeted our tents overnight abated so the pull up onto Ben Macdui was relatively calm, until the summit plateau was reached.  The high winds then returned and we were battered and blown across the northern plateau to the 9th and final 4000ft mountain; Cairngorm.  After that it was a quick drop down through the ski area to the base station car-park, a bus to Aviemore, then a cheeky wee chip-supper before getting the train back to Edinburgh. Job done.

So why is this called the Oat Route? Like it’s Alpine namesake The High Route, or Haute Route, (pronounced ‘Oat’) that links Chamonix and Zermatt, so the Scottish Oat Route links Scotland’s mountain resorts of Fort William and Aviemore.

Thanks to Dave Habgood, an Associate teacher with the Outdoor Learning Service, for helping us make this happen and definitely a job well done to Adam, Andrew, Angus, Euan, Leon and Sean for digging deep and completing the challenge in such good spirits. An excellent trip that should have equipped all with some quality mountain experiences, and new skills, to progress their own outdoor adventures at University or their last year at school.

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