Scotland in march

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Scotland in march

by 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

by 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

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

For more pictures, click here.

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