Below you will find information on some specific access issues in places that are popular with Challengers. The nature of the Event and the remote terrain encountered means it cannot be comprehensive and is it is often difficult to access up to date information. You therefore need to be prepared to encounter missing bridges etc along the way. If you know of any access issues that you think should be included or have any updates on issues mentioned please contact the Co-ordinators. You can see this information on an interactive map. Thanks to Mick Blackburn for producing it.
Storms Arwen, Malik & Corrie
The winter of 2021/22 was dominated by three huge storms. There is the risk of wind blown trees obstructing tracks and paths anywhere in the Highlands particularly less commonly used routes. However the worst damage was in the east with Glen Doll particularly badly affected. Jock’s Road is blocked and likely to remain so during TGOC22. Challengers are advised to reroute via Bachnagairn and Moulzie. A summary of what we know including map’s of Glen Doll and Fetteresso Forest can be found here.
We don’t intend to give a comprehensive list of all bridge issues. It would be impossible to keep up to date information on all bridges and one of the challenges of the Challenge is dealing with unexpected issues such as a missing bridge. However we have put together as much information as we have on bridges on popular routes that are shown on OS 1:50,000 maps which may be missing or damaged especially those crossing potentially unfordable rivers.
Deeside – Many bridges were damaged or washed away by Storm Frank in December 2015 and some have not yet been replaced. Thankfully the bridge over the River Quoich at NO 117 910 and the Punch Bowl bridge at NO 114 913 (pictured) have been replaced. The Pollhollick bridge NO343965 was repaired in 2019 and the Cambus O’May bridge at NO420976 finally reopened in April 2021. The Glen Derry bridge at NO 040934 and Luibeg NO013942 bridges are intact but the bridge over the Derry at NO 039 958 remains damaged and closed.
Glen Banchor – The bridge at NN648984 was washed away several years ago but remains on many recent maps. Other bridges are shown across the Calder on older maps but there are none other than the A86 road bridge.
Glen Doll – Bridges at Moulzie NO281773 and Bachnagairn NO254796 have been washed away and as far as we are aware have not been replaced.
Glen Dye/Fetteresso – The bridge marked at NO655867 at Heatheryhaugh is in fact a wire cable and basket which is normally locked and therefore unusable.
Glen Feshie – The river altered its course during Storm Frank in late 2015 resulting in several sections of the new path on the east bank being washed away although it is passable with care and the occasional detour. The bridge at Carnachuin was washed away several years ago and is no longer shown on the most up to date maps. The bridge near Baileguish at NN823982 survived but the bridge across the Allt na Caoileig at NN827983 was damaged and the burn formed a new course around it but there is a footbridge by the ford (not seen until you reach the river) at NN826979.
Glen Gairn – the bridge at NO172998 was damaged in 2016 and we have no recent information regarding whether it is useable.
Glen Kinglass/Abhainn Shira – The bridge at NN185402 has been replaced by a new bridge around 800m downstream. The bridge across the Abhainn Shira near Clashgour was removed several years ago as it was in a dangerous state.
Glen Muick – bridges at the west end of Loch Muick NO271820 and NO271819 were washed away in 2015 but have now been replaced.
Glen Shee – The bridge over the Baddoch Burn NO129822 was washed out in 2015 and the footbridge downstream was reported to be damaged and dangerous.
Glen Tromie – The bridge at NN752923 is no longer there but the damaged one at NN755923 near Bhran Cottage has been replaced.
Gorton – The bridge over the Allt na Slat at NN 357 470 which gives access to Gorton bothy collapsed in October 2021 and may not be replaced before TGOC22. Crossing the burn may be difficult in spate and require a significant detour upstream.
Invervigar Burn – The bridge shown at NH336056 is still shown on OS maps despite being absent for many years. There is however an unmarked bridge upstream at Achadh-nan-darach NH313056.
Knoydart – The bridge at Carnoch NM865964 has been replaced with a new sturdy one that we hope will resist winter storms for many years.
Moray Firth – The bridge at NJ 238705 across the River Lossie was washed away in 2019. Funding and planning permission are now in place for a new bridge but it is not clear if this will happen in time for TGOC22 so a diversion to Arthur bridge further downstream may still be required.
River Dulnain – The bridge at Dalnahaitnach (NH855201) has long gone but is on older maps. There is now a new track along the north side which leads to the bridge at NH865212. The bridge at NH789135 has been swept away. If you can ford the Dulnain there the bridge at NH790134 across the Feithlinn appears to be intact. We are not certain if the bridge at NH765121 is still there but plan to investigate.
Strathfarrar – The bridge at Inchvuilt NH230387 became dangerous and was removed by the estate in 2013. The bridge at NH 262 383 has been reported to be in a poor state but useable in 2019.
Tarfside/Glen Esk – The bridge at Woodhaugh NO491790 is deemed unsafe and has been blocked by the estate and the bridge at Turnabrain NO501789 is no longer there. Downstream the suspension bridge at Dalhastnie is usually locked. The Esk can be crossed at Dalbrack NO469782 or Fernybank NO534782 to access tracks on the west bank and re-crossed by a new bridge at NO580740, not yet on any maps, if you want to access the paths on the east bank of the Esk.
MBA bothies have now reopened following more than a year’s closure due to Covid-19. The situation may change if further restrictions are put in place. Please check the MBA website for current advice. Please note Culra bothy will remain closed due to asbestos contamination and Peanmeanach bothy is also permanently closed.
Access during the building of wind farms and hydroelectric schemes is not often restricted but heavy plant vehicles are likely to be operating in the area. For your own safety ensure you are visible and comply with any reasonable diversions or requests from construction workers you may encounter. In recent years several small scale hydro-electric projects were reported (including Glen Etive, near Bendronaig Lodge and Allt Garbh nr Loch Affric) There are no access restrictions that we know of though new tracks and the obliteration of some old tracks may affect navigation.
Garva Bridge substation – This links the Stronlairig windfarm to the grid and is near the Wade bridge at NN 521 947 and limits access to the popular wild pitches by the Spey and Feith Talagain.
Nigg Bay, near Aberdeen – This is the site of Aberdeen’s harbour extension and construction will continue throughout 2022. There is still access to Girdle Ness but if you are seeking a bit of peace and tranquillity you might not get it!
National Park Restrictions & Estate Requests
Loch Lomond – There are bye laws restricting wild camping by many of the lochs in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Places have to be pre booked (for details click here) and fines may be imposed if you do not have a permit. However it is relatively easy to avoid them and camp elsewhere.
There are a few reasonable requests made by some of the estates which we would ask you to comply with:
Glen Feshie – The estate requests camping be confined to the area around Ruigh–aiteachain Bothy (NN 847928), or further up the glen.
Glen Muick/Loch Muick – Balmoral Estate request no camping because of the specific characteristics and sensitivities of this area. The nearest bothies are at Gelder Shiel, Glas-Allt Shiel (north side of Loch Muick) and Shielin of Mark and it is acceptable to camp discreetly outside the bothies.
Glen Lee – Dalhousie Estates request there should be no camping on or near the shores of Loch Lee, which is often used for night fishing.
Glen Mazeran – The estate requests Challengers do not walk past Glenmazeran Lodge. Please take the right fork at NH 744 227, cross the river and drop to the minor road at NH 748 224