Winter Wonderland – Ski Touring in the Tarmachans   4 comments

Our winter trip to the Southern Highlands has been a fixture now for 10 years. In that time we’ve had a few days of sunshine and a couple of days of proper winter conditions. We’ve never had both together and the weather has always been mixed although the weather has never been a complete washout.

This year, our 11th, the forecast looked promising with high pressure and cold weather following a snowy spell giving much hope for a great conditions. Drawing back the curtains on the Friday morning gave substance to that hope.


Lots of deep fresh snow equals a chance for some ski touring. I abandoned TBF to the tender mercies of the Sheffield Boys while we headed to Lochan na Larige for a high start. We had park below the reservoir as the road was blocked by snow and ice.



Spoilt for choice with the mountains plastered in snow above 500m, and after much debate we settled on Meall Nan Tarmachan.



The weather and views were just breathtaking. How often is it you’re glad you remembered sunglasses on a day out in Scotland. We ploughed our trail up towards the ridge that carries the baggers path to the summit




Alas the Scottish weather nipped at our heels as a bank of grey cloud drifted in and started to cloak the higher summits. We were even treated to the almost unheard of sight of MM struggling with tiredness (he had just flown back from a business trip to Brazil!)




By the time we reached the summit it had reached us as well so it was the briefest of stops, tinged with a little disappointment that the fine start to the day had petered out.


Luckily skiing downhill is great fun even in the cloud. This descent enlivened by my attempt to ski an extremely steep gully badly broken by deep footprints and with boots not adjusted properly. Ratio between ski and fall about 20:80! 🙂

We skied down to the track and then back up to the ridge for another descent back to the car. The fickle Scottish weather turned again and the sun came out


Not sure what I did with the camera settings but they came out rather dark and broody looking but still capture the essence of what was a cracking ski descent



The snow was a little heavy but fluffy enough for some wonderful easy turns as we picked a superb route through the crags and gullies


I seem to have lost the ability to keep a camera aligned to the horizon as I’ve got older. However this particular shot seems to be best yet. Pretty sure Loch Tay would empty rather quickly at that sort of angle. 🙂


The patches of blue and the sunlight on the mountains, backed by dark clouds was just magnificent



This shot of GM in action is my favourite from the day


The descent went on all the way down to the dam and the massive water pipe that pops out from the base



For most of us climbing under the pipe was the only time we took skis off all day. MM made a very brave effort at trying to limbo underneath without taking them off. A then made it look easy!


Blue skies, a ski munro, two cracking descents, and ski to/from the car on excellent snow with great company. Does a day get better than this? Watch this blog to find out.


4 responses to “Winter Wonderland – Ski Touring in the Tarmachans

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  1. I enjoyed reading about your latest ski touring adventure. I do a little bit of ski mountaineering myself, however only managed one trip so far this year. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


    • Hi Linda, I somehow stopped getting e-mail alerts to your blog posts but I’ve corrected that now. Glad you enjoyed the post, we had an even better adventure the next day. Its pretty rare to get decent conditions in the UK and I now live a long way from Scotland so this was a rare treat


  2. Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel (you left us with a cliffhanger there!).
    That looks like a lot of fun. Hard to believe that MM could have been ‘struggling’? Also: in the photos in the slideshow, I’m sure he’s airborne.
    The photo of GM is excellent. Incidentally, since he’s not, nor has he ever been, a Geordie and he no longer lives in the North East, doesn’t he need a new (less flattering) moniker? Malvern Corbett Obsessive? The Hairy Oatcake? (Answers on a postcard please.)
    Thanks for posting the 45 degree horizon, makes me feel much better about my off-kilter photos.
    No skiing videos?


    • Blimey, your put more words in the comment than I did in the post!
      A new nickname seems in order. I do like The Hairy Oatcake which I’ll be using from now on until someone can come up with a better one. I forgot my headache that weekend so a long trail of glorious smug photos I’m afraid. The first descent was pretty ordinary but the second that has all the photos was superb. Great snow and lots of gullies, chutes and open snowy slopes


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