We highly recommend that you spend a few minutes to read through these questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions you would like to ask or anything that you would like clarifying in more detail.
As fit as you are. We will plan your Mountain Trekking experience to the level of the least fittest member of your party and the kind of Mountain Trekking experience you would like. It also depends what you would like to do. Fast Mountain Trekking over a number of days across mixed terrain of high mountains and plateaus, with repeated descents and ascents in and out of valley systems, will need a good level of fitness. A more leisurely Single Day Trek through valley systems would be achievable with a much lower level of fitness. What we really ask is that you are totally honest with us when you fill in our medical and fitness questionnaire. Please see our fitness grading for more detailed information on how you can assess your fitness level.
If being active is a new or returning experience for you, we highly recommend that you discuss your fitness and physical well being with your medical practitioner. The best way to prepare for Mountain Trekking is by frequent fast walking whilst carrying a small weighted rucksack, initially building up to 45 minutes and then longer local walks. Hill training can be gradually included in the form of stairs and stepping. Any aerobic exercise will also be of benefit and could include cycling, running, swimming and rowing.
On a Multi-day Mountain Trek we will aim to keep your total pack weight between 8 and 12 kilos but this will be dependent on the weight of your own personal gear and whether you are sharing a tent or not. For couples, the fitter of the two could carry the tent and other shared items, to reduce the weight for the other. We also reduce the amount carried by using high quality lightweight equipment and not carrying significant amounts of water but by treating it ‘on the go’. For longer Multi-day Mountain Treks we also use restocking points so the amount of food carried is reduced.
Each Mountain Trekking Guide holds public liability insurance. It is recommended that individual walkers/trekkers hold their own liability and personal holiday activity insurance. The BMC [British Mountaineering Council] and MS [Mountaineering Scotland] provide public liability and insurance cover specifically for activities in mountainous areas and membership of one of these organisations is worth considering. Trekkers from the EU and beyond should be able to get bespoke insurance from their own mountaineering organisations.
One of the keys of successful Mountain Trekking in upland areas is not to rigidly stick to original plans and objectives irrespective of the weather. As conditions change we will adapt your Mountain Trek to ensure your safety and comfort. Rain and poor visibility would not necessarily need significant route changes but we might look at different objectives and wild camp sites. However, in the case of high winds and snow conditions we would change a high level Mountain Trek onto lower routes. In extreme weather conditions we would look to cancel your Mountain Trek or cut it short. In such exceptional cases we would reimburse you accordingly.
Not at all and we believe ongoing flexibile planning will give you the best experience. We do not follow fixed trekking routes and timetables. We believe strongly in the freedom to wander and explore. Your Mountain Trekking route will be continuously assessed by your Mountain Trekking Guide and adapted in relation to the groups performance, weather conditions, speed of progress and what you would like to do and see. Your Mountain Trekking Guide will suggest route changes and negotiate these with you.
Throughout the year we offer a number of Speciality Treks and Expeditions, though routes are varied and not rigidly kept to and are based on flexible planning. For us this allows for a spirit of adventure and the need and desire to be adaptable. Our Mountain Trekking provides more opportunity for exploration and for catering for your specific requirements. It is also kinder to the environment. Using the same routes and wild campsites would put an unacceptable strain on the environments we so dearly love.
Depending on the time of year and location of your trek, very much depends on how many midges we might encounter. The wee beasties are less frequent and annoying in the Cairngorms than in the western areas of Scotland due to it’s slightly dryer landscape. Breeze is the key to keeping the midges away and we always look to avoid walking and camping in sheltered and humid micro environments where midges can be more prevalent. We also provide all Mountain Trekkers with their own midge head net, midge repellant and all of our tents are midge proof.
Ticks are present in most mountain areas of Britain. They are generally harmless but can pass on Lymes Disease which, if left untreated, can cause lasting health problems. If you show signs of infection [usually a localised and obvious rash around the bite area], a diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease is detectable with a blood test and treatable with antibiotics. All of our Mountain Trekking Guides carry tick removers [a special kind of tweezer], and will advise you on how avoid ticks, to check and remove them, and give you clear advice if you think you have been infected.
Yes. Not all Mountain Treks have to be circular and we can offer portage to and from start and end points within the local area of your trek.
For Single Day Mountain Treks there is no minimum age limit (provided a parent or guardian is present) and as always we will plan your Mountain Trek in relation to the needs of the least able member. With very young children you will need to consider the duration of the Mountain Trek. For Multi-day Mountain Trekking we have a minimum age of 13 years of age because of the stamina needed and equipment we can provide, although this age limit might be reduced in discussion with us and at our discretion.
We actively encourage younger trekkers but insist that under 18’s have a responsible adult over the age of 18 with them.
Our Mountain Trekking Guides will always look at your wellbeing as a priority and will use their First Aid skills and medical knowledge to the best of their abilities. Non serious illness/injury will be managed as appropriate and the Mountain Trek curtailed if necessary and, where possible, vehicular pick up arranged from the nearest road. However, if you have a life threatening medical emergency we would not hesitate to evacuate you through a Mountain Rescue call out. Importantly, if you feel ill during a Mountain Trek you must tell the Mountain Trekking Guide who will then decide on the best course of action. All Mountain Trekking Leaders carry a fully registered Personal Locator Beacon [PLB] which alerts the emergency services, via satellite, at a push of a button. Activating a PLB from anywhere in the UK, including the Scottish mountains, would automatically identify the Mountain Trekking party’s location and put a rescue process into immediate operation. All of our Mountain Trekking Guides have up-to-date Wilderness First Aid certification.
We believe the mountain environments should be accessible to all and would love to say yes in all cases. However, we would have to discuss this with you on an individual basis. Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly so we can talk to you personally about this.
As long as we know what the condition is or how it’s managed, this should not stop you Mountain Trekking within your physical limits, though each condition will be different and will need discussing with us on a personal basis. People who have self-managing conditions such as diabetes and asthma should not have an issue as long as they carry the correct management system with them.
We would generally class a severe allergy as one that leads to anaphylactic shock. This should not stop you trekking but we would put in place an additional action plan and, if necessary, training so our Mountain Trekking Guide will know how to deal with your specific case, especially if this includes the use of an Epipen.
This can be a major fitness concern for many people considering Mountain Trekking with a range of mountain terrains and steep ascents and descents really testing leg joints and knees in particular. If you have a known knee condition you will be aware of your limitations, especially in relation to the terrain you can tackle and how many days you can manage. We always recommend the use of trekking poles, especially for those who suffer from knee issues. Also, if you use occasional knee supports we recommend that you use these throughout a Trek rather than waiting until you have knee pain.
We have no problem with this as long as your pet is well behaved and you stick rigidly to the countryside code and, on Multi-day Mountain Treks, that they don’t sleep in your tent [under the vestibule awning would be OK]. You will also have to consider how you will feed and water your dog and how the food is going to be carried – by you or the dog. The fitness of your animal will also be something you need to consider and how their paws will be on rough mountain terrain.