Kilimanjaro Training Programme

My suggestion is to build up to a big weekend of walking where you walk for three days in a row, where the last day is about 12 hours. Although height gain is important to achieve fitness and replicate the ascent you will do on Kilimanjero, I think the most important thing is building up endurance and getting used to long days in the mountains. This big weekend of walking could be preceded by three other hill weekends. The first and second weekend could be done before the end of winter (end of April). The third and fourth weekends would be better done May onwards.

FIRST WEEKEND – One long day walk (7 hours) on undulating ground and on good paths (grade: Easy). For example, a walk in the moorland to the north of Dunkeld.

SECOND WEEKEND – Two days walking on easy / moderate grade. For example, a coastal walk on Arran (6 hours) and a moderate hill day taking in Goatfell.

THIRD WEEKEND – Two moderate /  difficult grade hill days. For example Ben Vrackie near Pitlochry (4 hours) and then Ben a’Ghlo (1,300m ascent, 9-10 hours). Another option would be Shiehallion one day then the Glen Lyon horseshoe (4 rounded munros).

FOURTH WEEKEND – Three moderate / difficult hill days. For example, option are the northern Cairngorms, Kintail or Knoydart. The options for this fourth weekend are explained in more detail below.

 My availability

Any time except 15 to 29th of July

Notes on grade of walks

  • Easy – Shorter hill days with paths predominating
  • Moderate –  Hill days in less remote country,  but terrain may be steep and rough in places and paths may be indistinct. Care must be taken in navigating in poor visibility.
  • Difficult – Long hill walks in remote country with rough terrain and long sections without paths, may include some some scrambling and some exposed ground.
  • Very difficult – Arduous long hill days on rough terrain with few paths; may include steep steep ascents and descents, scrambling and exposed ground.

Northern Cairngorms, Option 1

This trip takes in the some of the biggest mountains in the Cairngorms. The landscape is huge with big glacier smoothed mountains. Although the terrain is rough in places there are good paths and on the plateau the tundra vegetation offers good walking. Lots of accommodation is available in Aviemore. These big rounded mountains are perhaps most akin to the type of ground you will get on Kilimanjaro.

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Grade: Difficult

Drive – 3 hrs plus
Length of trip – 3 days
Accommodation – 2 nights in Glenmore Youth Hostel
Seasonal notes – Best done May onwards
Day 1 – Drive to Glenmore near Aviemore and walk up a corbett near Glenmore Lodge called Meall a’Bhuachille (550m ascent and 4-5 hours)
Day 2 – Bynack More and Cairngorm from Glenmore Lodge, 1,500m ascent, 9-10 hrs. This day can be made shorter by just doing Bynack Mor.
Day 3 – Braeriach and Cairn Toul from the sugar bowl car park, near Glenmore, 1,800m ascent, 13 hours.

Knoydart from Kinloch Hourn, Option 2

Challenging three day trip in remote but beautiful Knoydart. The terrain is steep and rough. The walk in, along Kinloch Hourn takes 3 hours and depending on the time of year some of this might be done in the dark. Ladhar Bheinn is one of the finest mountains in Scotland with many ridges and corries and amazing views out to the west and the Minch. Accommodation is at Barrisdale bothy.

An alternative base for the weekend is Inverie on the west coast of Knoydart where bunkhouse and B&B accommodation is available. Inverie is accessed by ferry from Mallaig.

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Grade – Difficult

Drive – 4 hrs plus
Length of trip – 3 days
Accommodation – 2 nights in bothy at Barrisdale (or hostel in Inverie)
Seasonal notes – Best done May onwards
Day 1 – Drive to Kinlochhourn and walk in to Barrisdale – 6 miles, 3 hrs and 300m ascent and descent.
Day 2 – Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe from Barrisdale bothy, 1,300m ascent, 8 hrs. This day can be made shorter by just doing Luinne Bheinn.
Day 3 – Ascent of Ladhar Bheinn then walk back to Kinlochhourn, 1,500m ascent. 11 hours

Kintail, Option 3

This three day trip culminates in the south Kintail ridge, taking in 7 munros. This area has lots of options for hill walking, with around 30 munros concentrated along Glen Shiel. The mountains are steep sided but  very rewarding to walk with long ridges beautiful views. B&B and hostel accommodation available near by.

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Grade – Difficult

Drive – 4 hrs plus
Length of trip – 3 days
Accommodation – 2 nights in Ratagan youth hostel
Seasonal notes – Best done May onwards
Day 1 – Drive to Glen Shiel and walk up a relatively straightforward munro on the north side of Loch Clunie called Carn Ghluasaid – 4 hours.
Day 2 – Bein Fhadda and A’Ghlas Bheinn from Morvich near Loch Duich, 1,600m ascent, 9 hrs. This day can be made shorter.
Day 3 – South Kintail Ridge, east to west, 1,800m ascent and 11 hours.