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Scotland in march

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Scotland in march

Postby seb » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:59 am

I'm going mountaineering in Scotland and i have a few question-
1. what kind of temperatures am i looking at?
2. Softshell pants or hardshell pants?
3. Should i bring trekking poles?
4. Types of midlayer to use (down, synthetic insulation or fleece)?
5. Do i need insulated pants?
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Re: Scotland in march

Postby rgg » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:16 am

Scotland in March can vary a whole lot from year to year, but if you go up the higher peaks, be ready for snow and subzero temperatures, especially early in the morning. On my last visit, a hiking trip in May 2010, there was still so much snow up on the Cairngorms high plateau that I almost needed crampons - which I didn't pack.

Softshells are not ideal if it rains a lot. And, well, we're talking about Scotland.

Some people don't believe in trekking poles, others do. More often than not, I bring them. One of the things I like about Scotland is that it's so easy to camp wild and so I would have a full pack to lug around, and with that I definitely like poles. But when I want to go really light weight, or when I expect to be a lot on terrain that's too steep for poles anyway do I go without.

I take as few clothes as I can get away with, but on a mountaineering trip I usually bring both a fleece and a down jacket. I only wear my down jacket infrequently, but when it's really cold, I'm always glad when I packed it. I only don't bring it if I'm pretty sure it won't be cold - such as on my upcomong trip to the Canary Islands. But for Scotland in March, definitely!

My hands and toes are much more susceptible to the cold than my legs. I usually wear pretty basic hiking pants, not even very thick ones, whether I go hiking or climbing. I only infrequently use my insulated pants, and wouldn't bring them to Scotland in March unless the weather forecast shortly before I head out would say that there will be a serious cold spell. But I would like to pack my long thermal underwear though, just in case. Doesn't weigh very much but gives a lot of extra warmth. And with that system I have up to three layers for my legs: long thermals, hiking pants and, if necessary, my rain pants. Unlike my hiking pants these are wind proof, and that can be useful.

Good luck, Rob

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Early morning scene just outside my tent on the shores of Loch Avon, Cairngorms, May 2010

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