The Scottish National Trail was devised by Cameron McNeish  a well known Scottish Mountaineer. This is the launch video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D6jqIn17Fc#action=share  

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-maps-online.htmlsy. This is the UK mapping resource. You can take out a subscription per month and then cancel once you have completed the trail. The online maps are utilised via an app on your mobile phone. You can download the maps to enable the maps to work offline thus enabling you to navigate via the app. Here is an excellent review of your navigation options    https://www.alexroddie.com/2019/01/skills-guide-modernise-your-mountain-navigation.html

RESOURCES TO PLAN YOUR WALK

     https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/scottish-national-trail.shtml  This site should be your    primary site for obtaining details of each section and GPX files. Highly recommended

http://scottishnationaltrail.blogspot.com/ This is an excellent resource enabling you to download files and details of each section http://scottishnationaltrail.blogspot.com/search/label/Download I would strongly urge you to download the bundle of files

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-locate/ I would strongly urge you to put this app on to your mobile phone. its free and from Britain's mapping agency

Maps

Ordnance Survey Maps, the UK's mapping agency, my suggestion is to use the OS app with a subscription for on-line maps which can be downloaded for off line use. You can then cancel the subscription once you have completed the Scottish National Trail. One huge advantage of using this app from Ordnance Survey (OS) is that it allows you to print out your route on a side of A4 then throw the map away when you have finished that stage. I enclosed my maps in a sealable plastic cover which i could re-use for the next map. Always make sure your map is printed to scale. See the informtion on the left of your screen by Alex Roddie detailing your navigation options.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-maps-online.htmlsy. This is the UK mapping resource. You can take out a subscription per month and then cancel once you have completed the trail. The online maps are utilised via an app on your mobile phone. You can download the maps to enable the maps to work offline thus enabling you to navigate via the app. Here is an excellent review of your navigation options    https://www.alexroddie.com/2019/01/skills-guide-modernise-your-mountain-navigation.html

Walking Poles. You will need them when crossing rivers which are in spate. Absolutely invaluable for this task alone

Think about getting a PLB or something  like the Garmin Inreach or Garmin Mini. Larger parts of stage 4 have no cell\mobile signal

In mountain areas its fine to drink from streams. I never bought any water and used streams. In lowland Scotland (Stage 1 & 2) I would suggest you boil the water first if your extracting  it from Rivers in lowland Scotland

 I previously walked the Trail alone in 2018 while raising money for Children's Hospices Across Scotland. Follow my preparation below for the 2020 walk:

 

I break the Scottish National Trail into 4 stages which follows Cameron McNeish Book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scotland-End-Gore-tex-registered-Scottish/dp/0956295738/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=scottish+national+trail&qid=1569776273&sr=8-1

Stage 1 Kirk Yetholm to Edinburgh
Stage 2 Edinburgh-Milingavie
Stage 3 Milingavie -Kingussie
Stage 4 Kingussie-Cape Wrath

Point to note;

Although there are 40 sections to the  Scottish National Trail these 40 sections merge  into the 4 stages above and enable you to give yourself a goal;

Current Status Preparation for 2020

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Registered Mobile phone with 999 text service

Updated Garmin Inreach with emergency contact information
 

Loaded more pre set messages. Complete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Checked GPX files for loading on to GPS Device. Complete

  • Moving through checklist of Equipment testing and checking Complete
     

  • Final run through on clothing, check stove, boots, dry sacks. Complete

Departure date for Kirk Yetholm 4-8-20

 

 

Training  Aim to be able to walk 15 miles per day for at least a week with a fully loaded pack. Your pack should not weigh more than 11-13 kilo less if you can get it down. Why?  There is a direct correlation between pack weight and giving up, crossing rivers in spate with a very heavy pack, good luck, stability on high level ground and slopes especially in gale force winds.

 

 

 



For stage 4 you will be walking over and through deep peat bogs, hags at Grade 4 plus crossing  rivers in spate. Your feet will be constantly wet, think about how you will look after your feet, good resupply of socks, compeed https://www.compeed.co.uk/ 

Do not be lulled into a false sense of security if you experience good conditions, changes in weather in Scotland are are the norm and can transform your walk into a serious undertaking

Tip ; Use the checklists on the Cape Wrath Trail book ( which is Stage 4 of the Scottish National Trail) to make sure you have everything before you leave for your adventure on the Scottish National Trail

The Scottish National Trail is a tough walk progressively becoming more difficult as each stage progresses, on stage 4 walking 5 kilometres can take 3-4 hours hours due to conditions underfoot (Grade 4 bogs) gale force winds and rain. Stage 4 will need very careful preparation as some of the issues you may need to deal with are:

River Crossings due to heavy rain

Sudden Weather Changes, dense fog, gale force winds and rain (this is my view is one of the main determinants for changing the walk from a hard walk to a severe walk. I generally get a weather forecast everyday and plan accordingly using bothies as sheltering and staging posts to try and avoid gale force wind and rain) 

Excessive Cold or Heat

Midges

Ticks

Exhaustion

Grade 4 Bogs in the following locations:

Cluanie to Morvich section
Morvich Maol-bhuidhe section
Kinlochewe Shenavall section
Shenavall Inverlael section
Inverlael Oykel Bridge section
Oykel Br. Inchnadamph secton
Inchnadamph Kylestrome section
Kylestrome Rhiconich section
Rhiconich Sandwood section

 

 

 

 

The above are the  primary resources you need to walk the Scottish National Trail. Once you have gathered resources from the above sites think about your navigation options see the link on this page to the Ordnance Survey Maps ( Britain's Mapping Agency) you will also need to acquire the Cape Wrath Trail book as this gives detailed routes and navigation options for Stage 4

Accommodation Use Hostels, Wild Camp or Bed and Breakfast up to Fort Augustus then from there Bothies and Wild Camping or Camp sites.

There is no direct bus service to Kirk Yetholm from Berwick upon Tweed. Your options are to get to Berwick upon Tweed then take a Number 67 bus to Galashiels via Kelso. Alight at Kelso then catch the 81 81 (a) or 81 (b) bus to Kirk Yetholm from Kelso.

if arriving from in Edinburgh from overseas. I would suggest catching the train to Galashiels and then catch the number 67 bus above from Kelso to get to Kirk Yetholm