My gear including water
The Lairig Ghru route from Aviemore to Braemar (or Braemar to Aviemore) is about equipment, food and water.
My pack was 14kg at home, but this did not allow for water bought at Aviemore.
Why take 4 litres of water?
Getting water in the highlands is more involved than dipping your water bottle in a stream.
Some areas are grazed by sheep, so the bacteria in their droppings get washed into the streams when it rains.
Also trees drop leaves etc. and are washed into streams (more so when the trees are over the stream or above where you want to collect water).
To get clean water...
- Check where you are is not below sheep grazing or trees.
- Is the water running over rocks or through peat bogs? Peat is a good filter (the water will have a brown tint).
- Have people walked past the stream? There could be debris from walkers boots in the water or worse (no matter if visible or not)
- After checking YOU HAVE HEEDED above points you need to boil the water to kill any parasites.
- Use a chlorine dioxide tablet one or two per litre of water (it tells you on the pack you buy at a mountaineering shop). You can also buy a "taste tablet" not sure of correct name.
If you can't be bothered checking and doing the above. Take the 4 litres of water for the trip and keep your pack lighter to accommodate the weight of the water.
What happens if I drink water from a stream without checking? Why bother?
You get really really sick, empty your stomach and still want to empty it. Then a trip to the hospital.
They give you an anti sickness tablet which cuts off any nerve impulses to your stomach so you don't wretch. You can't eat anything for 4 days.
You are now the proud host of a parasite that will be in your stomach for the rest of your life.
You have to be selective what restaurants you eat in. If you eat at the wrong restaurant you will be sick that night and have to keep off food for one or two days, so the parasite dies away again.
Any time you eat chicken check it is cooked through and not from frozen, AND DOESN'T CONTAIN BONES. Don't eat bacon, sausage or burgers that you think can walk off the plate without assistance. If you can snap it, it's cooked.
And another thing to remember:
DON'T DRINK WATER FROM STREAMS UNLESS YOU BOIL IT FOR THREE MINUTES FIRST, AND CHLORINATE IT.