Monday, 20 September 2010

Craig Bheag

This route is a quick 3.5 mile hiking trail that you can do in about an hour and a half that leaves the centre of Kingussie in the Highlands of Scotland and heads in the direction of the Golf Course over Craig Bheag which overlooks Loch Gynack and then descends back into the village of Kingussie.

The best place to start the walk is from the Ardvonie Carp Park which is off Gynack Road (the road on the way to the Golf Course). Start by walking out of the car park and back onto Gynack Road. Head up the hill on Gynack road (which is signed to the golf course). Within a short hop there is a small wooden footbridge that appears and crosses back over the Gynack. I unfortunately didn't take a load of snaps on this walk as it was done at a pace where I was challenging myself a touch so all of them were taken at the top.

Once over the bridge carry on walking up the hill through a bit of woodland continuously heading uphill. Once through the woodland you then rejoin the road which eventually passes the golf course on your left hand side. Soon after you pass through the Pitmain Estate gate and you are actually walk through Kingussie Golf Course albeit on a tarmac road. There are actually signs all the way up here that show the way.

At the mile marker there is a bridge that crosses the Gynack once again and signs then show the way to the left once over it. This contours around the side of the hill and starts ascending. You follow the golf course with it on your left hand side and walk between the remains of the buildings - no idea what these used to be, possibly gamekeepers huts or something. From here you head through the gate and head into the trees. This route takes you towards Loch Gynack however just before you arrive there you will appear out of the trees and it's at this point that you head left straight up towards the summit of Craig Bheag. This starts to get a bit tough - especially at pace, but it's not that high really and you start at a fair altitude too. You do get pretty impressive views across the Monadliath Mountains, the Cairngorms, Kingussie and the Spey Valley from the top, right until the weather suddenly sets in and it starts wetting it down which is never a pleasure but so long as you're prepared you're fine. As I was trying to get a bit or a wriggle on and I was more than half way through I sacked the waterproofs off and started my way down. Now there are seemingly paths all over the place but keep heading down and to the left and you will continue on the right hiking trail.

You then meet the pine woodland on your left, follow this down to the gate. Pass through this and turn left onto the sealed road. When you arrive at the T-Junction go straight over and through the park where you find yourself back at the car park where you started.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Walkmeter revisited

After my first semi disastrous attempt at using the walkmeter iPhone app I thought my time up in the Highlands would be the perfect opportunity to put it to the rigours of the outer reaches of reception along with the recording of routes, altitudes and speeds. The results were quite mixed.

I tried it out on a couple of routes (which i'll document later), firstly on a short 3 1/2 mile route and I was staggered with the outcome, it was awesome. The route it recorded on google maps was perfect, it delivered my average time per mile, recorded time, distance and calories. The reception never faulted giving a totally accurate representation of my route. Furthermore it also shows you some pretty graphs, one with your pace on and the other detailing your altitude (see the below examples). I was seriously wowed at this point I have to say. Not only do I no longer have to paw over google maps to recreate my route once home but I've got a plethora of other titbits of info of my yomp at my fingertips.

View Larger Map

Started: 12 Aug 2010 18:18:20
Hike Time: 1:06:05
Stopped Time: 1:33
Distance: 3.64 miles
Average: 18:09 /mile
Fastest Pace: 10:55 /mile
Climb: 778 feet
Calories: 387

I then took it out on a touch of longer outing. This one was about 12 1/2 miles and was expected to take around 5 1/2 hours. It kicked off like a dream recording everything as expected until just over 3 hours into the walk (pretty much just over half way) when my phone conked out. Fair play my battery wasn't full full when I'd left the car but it was only around 4 hours since it had been fully charged. I did also notice that my Bluetooth had been on, whether that would have made much difference or not I don't know but is worth bearing in mind.

View Larger Map

Started: 14 Aug 2010 13:39:20
Hike Time: 3:01:26
Stopped Time: 0:00
Distance: 6.76 miles
Average: 26:51 /mile
Fastest Pace: 16:23 /mile
Climb: 1929 feet
Calories: 703

I think then that this app is in need of further testing on a full battery with nothing else running to see the true potential with a full battery. Otherwise on a short walk it behaves impeccably - shame I prefer to go out for a good leg stretch when I leave the house though.
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