Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

Wild camping in Big Country Part 3   8 comments

P4171497

Sleep comes so much easier when the wind isn’t roaring and your mind starts to imagine scenarios of tents blowing down and trying to rescue everything in the dark of night. All we had was gentle rain to soothe us. By morning it had stopped and there were tentative glimpses of sunshine. Enough to tempt us outside for breakfast. Life was pretty good in a boil in the bag sausage and then porridge kind of way

P4171482

P4171483

There was no urgency to head home so we took a walk back up towards Corrour. There was plenty of blue sky and sunshine but it was still windy high up and pretty chilly. On a whim I decided to head for the skyline to the south as it looked moderately interesting. A chance to make a summit

P4171485

TJS was less convinced by the bog and tussocks to reach it so he returned to the tent while I covered the ground more briskly than I thought

P4171488

Having crossed Creagan nan Gabhar, Sgor Mor didn’t look much, just a bare high point surrounded by heather

P4171489

I traversed over to the SW ridge and found it pleasantly rocky and a joy to climb very easily to its summit. The view became ever better as I ascended, both north to the main Cairngorm summits and south across Glenshee and Beinn a Ghlo.

P4171493

P4171494

I got my reward for making the effort as my stay on the summit coincided with a lovely sunny spell. I grinned to the sky at my good fortune and sat on a rock to ponder

P4171496

P4171498

I tried another attempt at panorama shots but I still haven’t sussed them. Either I’m moving the camera too slowly or quickly but there is always a break in them at 2/3 across. Not quite sure why. If you click on them you can see a larger version. The second one (looking south) is much better and there is a video 360 in the slideshow at the end

P4171495

P4171500

I particularly enjoyed the views to the south as I hadn’t seen much of those the previous couple of days. It reminded me of a backpack through to Bynack Lodge many years ago, a trip remembered for very heavy showers, a very scary crossing of the Geldie Burn and two days of wearing shorts when I really should have known better

P4171502

I also thought of the many bloggers who I read and enjoy who will (about now in fact) be walking through this area on the TGO challenge. If any of them are camped up near White Bridge and get a decent day they could do worse than take a trip up this fine mountain. Sitting between the bigger ranges of hills its a perfect vantage point across some wonderful wild and remote landscape

P4171503

When  I got back I was further cheered to find out it was a Corbett. It doesn’t look high enough until you realise that all the valleys are already at 500m in these parts. Didn’t make the last few hundred meters to camp through some of the deepest heather I’ve ever seen any easier but at least I had another tick on the round of Corbetts that I’ll never finish

P4171504

Cairngorms 5

All that was left was to have lunch in the sun outside the tent, pack up, and head back to the car. TJS resisting the photo call from dad to fall in for some extra blog novelty value

P4171507

The trudge down Glen Lui was just as long, perhaps a little longer with a heavy heart of great trip nearly over

P4171509

P4171510

A last look along the Lui Water and we were back at the surprisingly empty Linn of Dee car park. Best part of 50 miles walked over the 5 days which we were both well chuffed about. As we finished getting ready to leave it started snowing!

P4171511

I commented on the previous post how I look back on this trip as an adventure in challenging conditions. By Cairngorm standards it was pretty benign but when I think of the fact it was cold, windy, snowy, that we were in some remote spots, that we saw few people hiking and almost no-one wild camping the feeling of achievement grows still further. This is especially true for TJS as he still has limited mountain experience and for me as I am ultimately responsible for keeping us safe (as opposed to leaning on the experience of friends). It would have been easy to bail out to a B&B or a campsite (and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it at a couple of points) but we stuck with it and got reward with some fine spells of weather, great views and for TJS one the UK’s great summits and another long trip into the mountains under his belt.

Cairngorms 6

Next years plan is already forming for more adventures. My friends that went to Arran had a good time but didn’t wild camp saying its too early in the year. What do they know! 🙂

I need to backpack while I still can as I don’t know how many I have left in me (private joke!)

Advertisements

Wild Camping in Big Country Part 2   8 comments

P4151452

The wind picked up overnight. Quite dramatically so. One of those winds you can hear coming before it batters the tent. My new Nigor Parula 2 tent is not classed as 3 seasons (by the manufacturer anyway) so my remaining concern was how well it would stand up to a Scottish gale. Answer is very well. It does flex quite a bit (as its supposed to) but withstood the battering flawlessly. It was a restless night but we woke to bright skies and decided to stick with our plan to move on, hopefully into the area below the Lairig Ghru. We left behind our home for the past few days and made tracks.

P4151424

P4151425

We agreed to take the alternative path down the west side of the river. Inspired. We were out of the wind, the sun came out and the forest was stunning. This short stretch was one of the highlights of the weekend. Photos don’t really do justice to how gorgeous it was

P4151427

P4151429

We then headed west into the strong wind along the upper reaches Glen Lui. I’ve walked through here a couple of times but hadn’t recalled how stunning it was

P4151430

P4151431

We headed up towards the Luibeg bridge to avoid the ford but as we reached it the skies suddenly darkened and we were hit with an extremely heavy hail and snow shower. The wind roared and I felt the Lairig Ghru would be hugely exposed and I didn’t fancy camping there. I’d spotted a patch of green down by the ford and we headed down primarily to shelter.

It was a wonderful spot, an almost perfect wild camp site. I figured we could tuck the tent in behind some of the trees and gain a small degree of shelter so we pitched here on the spur of the moment. It was right next to the path but this is a remote spot en-route to even more remote areas so only and handful of people passed by while we were there

P4151434

P4151435

Cairngorms 3

The showers were nasty while they emptied but they were few and far between and when the sun was out the views were stunning. We took an afternoon stroll up the path towards the Lairig Ghru and Corrour bothy

P4151436

P4151438

The views back down Glen Lui were sublime and up towards the massive peaks above the Lairig Ghru dramatic

P4151443

P4151448

P4151446

As we wandered back down the light became even clearer and the now abundant sunshine bathed the forest and heather in glorious colour

P4151455

P4151456

When we reached the tent the wind seemed to have dropped completely and it was warm enough – just – to cook outside in the sunshine

P4151457

No better feeling than tucking into a well earned meal in the wilds under an evening sun. One of the joys of backpacking and wild camping

P4151459

We’d hoped the weather would be sunny the next day but it dawned rather grey and gloomy although without the winds of the previous day. We were well placed for an attempt at Ben Macdui with good paths around an obvious horseshoe. There was light snow in the air all the way up but the path and then the easy terrain had us most of the way up Sron Riach in great time

P4161463

P4161464

The summit plateau is a wild and lonely place and deep snow cover still lay on the ground. It was an amazing contrast to the wild winds of the day before without so much as a breath of wind on one of the most notoriously windy places in Scotland. There were even wisps of blue sky to encourage us it might clear but it never did

P4161466

TJS was well chuffed to reach his second munro and the second highest peak in the UK despite the mixed weather

P4161468

After a celebratory cup of soup we headed on towards our second peak of the day. Its a long and tiring descent down the seemingly endless SW slopes of Ben Macdui

P4161471

Carn a Mhaim is a fine peak and different in character to most of the Cairngorms. Rather than the extensive plateau its a long ridge with a couple of moderately rocky sections and excellent views into the depths of the Lairig Ghru far below

P4161473

P4161474

P4161475

P4161476

We stopped for a second lunch and brew on the summit to celebrate TJS third munro (only 280 or so to go). For a time it looked like the skies might clear and our ascent route and the summit of Ben Macdui was revealed. Alas this was a goodbye rather than a greeting. It began to drizzle on the way down which turned into a steady rain that lasted the rest of the day

P4161481

We had to cook inside again due to the rain but it mattered not. We’d earned our feast and slept well without the wind and with the patter of raindrops on the nylon

Cairngorms 4

It had still been a grand day, 10 miles and 4000 feet of climbing on some true big scale mountains from a wild camp base. Epic!

 

Wild Camping in Big Country Part 1   12 comments

P4131365

The annual Easter wild camping trip. We’d made some plans to meet friends and pay a second visit to Arran. However the weather looked more settled in the East and while they stuck to their plan for Arran we headed east for TJS first visit to the Cairngorms, Scotland’s Big Country.

An overnight in Perth, a hearty breakfast in The Bothy in Braemar and round to Linn of Dee ready for a 5 day trip into the heart of this wild and remote corner of the Scottish Hills

P4131353

P4131354

We took the long walk in along Glen Lui, weighed down with 5 days supplies for a 4 night trip. Skies were threatening and spots of rain were in the air but never heavy enough for waterproofs

P4131355

It’s a long walk along the glen but there is a real sense of heading into the wilds. TJS has had a trip to Lochaber where long ridges predominate. The Cairngorms promise something different I told him. Long, deep valleys, high sculpted corries and extensive tundra-like plateaus.

P4131356

We passed Derry Lodge before turning north for Glen Derry. In my youth you could use the building for shelter, albeit a draughty one with all the windows and doors open to the elements. Its boarded up now with unfulfilled planning permission for something grander. There were a couple of people camping in the woods nearby, the only other wild campers we saw all weekend

P4131358

Our plan was to camp in Glen Derry. It’s a fabulous valley, broad, open, surrounded by towering summits and studded with natural scots pine

P4131362

P4131363

I wanted to return to a spot I’d camped in around 20 years ago and managed to find it! It’s an idyllic spot by the river and we found a sheltered spot under a tree

P4131364

We spent a couple of hours making it our home and having lunch. It was more tussocky than I remember and the photo below from the first trip proves it was indeed a much flatter grassier spot (although it was late May rather than Easter). That was a memorable trip for many reasons. Good times

Image 002

I wonder if it was the time of year or whether the translation from grass to tussock is part of the natural evolution of the landscape.

Cairngorms 1

We took a stroll in the late afternoon with a view to reaching Loch Etchachan. It was sunny when we set off but we caught a couple of heavy, wet snow showers, the only time we really got wet the whole weekend

P4131366

We passed by the Hutchison Hut, clearly now much improved, as are most of the Cairngorm bothies. We got a good way up towards the Loch before the cold and wet sent us back down to the tent to eat tea and get cosy in the tent for our first night in the wilds. A day of 11 miles and just shy of 3000 feet of ascent. Off to a good start

P4131368

The next day dawned overcast but bright and cold. We had a vague plan to repeat a walk I done on the previous trip, down to Loch Avon and back via Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui. The walk over the Lairig an Laoigh takes you into some real wild and remote country and its a stunning walk even on a grey day

P4141375

P4141376

We crossed the Fords of Avon without too much difficulty and took a peek in the Refuge. This has been massively improved to say the least. Last time I was here it was in effect, a small, squalid dark cave in a large cairn. Now its a wooden shelter (albeit with no windows) and rather snug and cosy for a couple of people.

P4141380

We pressed on to Loch Avon. One of the most dramatic locations in the UK if you ask me (I’m sure someone should). After a brief lunch stop at one end we walked to the other. The weather had dipped a little and it was snowing when we reached the other end

P4141381

We stopped for some soup and the sun came out! The beach is rather splendid and the water crystal clear, if a little chilly for a swim. There are plenty of spots for a tent so I must pay the place a longer visit.

P4141391

P4141390

By now we’d decided that the main summits were out-of-bounds with the weather so unpredictable, so a circuit around Beinn Mheadhoin seemed better. Onwards and upwards to Loch Etchachan with snow flurries still in the air but gorgeous views across Loch Avon as we climbed.

P4141394

P4141395

P4141398

After a heavy snow shower we had one of the best spells of the day at the Loch. It’s a magnificent spot, a dark corrie and lake, one of the highest in the UK. I camped up here with TBF and my dog Harry many years ago and this visit rekindled some fine memories. I took a bonus circuit of the smaller lake to take it all in

P4141402

P4141404

We had a spell of abundant sunshine and blue sky on the way down to Glen Derry and all was right with the world. I can handle a few brief soakings if the spells between are as good as this

P4141410

P4141412

TJS seemed to be enjoying it despite the cold weather. The Cairngorms has miles of high quality paths and he hates off-piste walking. He soared ahead of me most of the weekend waiting for me to catch up and show him how to cross awkward rivers and the like!

P4141414

P4141415

A view down Glen Derry. Our pitch is by the two dark trees in the right centre of the shot

P4141418

TJS feasting on his preferred snack of choice, Jaffa Cakes

P4141419

The day ended in fine fashion.  A few isolated showers and chill wind forced us to retire inside to cook.

P4141420

When we emerged for the usual post meal chores and ablutions we were treated a decent late evening light show for as long as our cold hands and other extremities could stand it before retiring

P4141421

P4141422

A highly satisfying and enjoyable day out in wild, big country and another 12 miles and 2800 feet of climbing under our belts. Not bad for ageing and novice sherpas

Cairngorms 2

Tales from the Wacky Winter Part 3   10 comments

P3051266

The weather forecast had been changing by the hour through the previous evening but it all seemed to point towards a less wet day, possibly with some sun, maybe some rain, likely cloudy. Not too bad for Scotland. We all decided on a group walk and after much debate and a fight to death with Beinn Challuim, Beinn DubhChraig won. It ticked all the boxes, easy walk, not too far, easy navigation, plentiful parking at Dalrigh. It wasn’t  a bad morning in truth and we set off in high spirits

P3051217

The walk up through the forest was grand, another of those old natural pine forests that used to cloak Scotland, now sadly overtaken by regimented conifer plantations

P3051218

P3051219

The party divided as we trudged a particularly boggy trod through the trees, I struck out solo and decided to cross the river to the path. This gave me an opportunity to test how slippery the rocks were and clean my boots and gaiters!

I did at least arrive clear of the forest a good 20 minutes before the rest of the gang who stayed in the boggy forest. From there the day became a bit of trudge. The cloud came down, the snow underfoot was wet and heavy and then some fresh stuff fell from the sky. The promise of a brighter afternoon seemed a long way off. We stopped for a snack and there was an image of the sun.

P3051222

I’ve been through this cruel deception in Scotland before. The sun appears as a ghostly image, then promptly buggers off to be replaced by rain. As we approached the ridge it did look genuinely blue directly above us and hope was rekindled. EWO loves his phrase “blueing up” and this time, perhaps…….

P3051224

As the rest arrived we started to see wisps of distant mountains and proper watery sunshine. It was magical.

P3051225

P3051227

The photos don’t really do it justice but the mix of deep blue sky directly overhead and thin sunshine on the fresh snow was wonderful. As impressive as the clear blue skies of two days back, possibly more so. We climbed Beinn Dubhchraig  several years ago on a previous trip and had exactly the same experience. A dreary, damp climb in the cloud and a sudden and dramatic weather clearance. My luckiest mountain?

P3051229

P3051231

The big problem with walking in a big group in poor conditions is it tends to lead to errors. Most people set off 180 degrees in the wrong direction, essentially back down the ridge we’d just come up. We’d strayed too far west while nattering leading to this major piece of navigational incompetence.  I called them back when I saw the summit looming above us through the mist in the opposite direction!

P3051232

P3051233

From the summit the views were changing by the second, crystal clear one moment, back into cloud the next. It was cold and windy so we looked for spot for a leisurely lunch

P3051235

P3051236

I enjoy these big group gatherings, this one all the better for the ever improving weather. The good humour and frivolity was enlivened by TBF letting her sandwich box slide off down the hill. Being the kind soul I am, I tried to knock it further down the slope by throwing snowballs at it. OFS stepped in to retrieve it giving me an additional and much larger target that I promptly hit square on the head. Result!

P3051238

The walk down the NE ridge was just superb. The skies were clearing further, revealing superb views across the Southern Highlands and Loch Lomond

P3051242

P3051245

P3051247

There were a couple of steep sections that would have been interesting in icy conditions but easy to plunge down in very deep snow

P3051249

There was one spot on the end of one of the small buttresses that was bathed in sunlight with majestic views all around. We took it all in and snapped many photos

P3051252

Ben More and Sob Binnein looked especially wintry

P3051250

P3051253

P3051254

This is Old Grandfather Sheffield. He had a “Cardiac Event” (to give it it’s modern re-branding) a few years ago which gave him a stark lifestyle reality check. All good now but there was a while when he thought climbing summits might be beyond him. He joins us every year and whilst he’s not quite as fast as he once was he’s pretty much back to his best and really seems to relish these weekends almost more than the rest of us.

P3051255

P3051256

The light just got better and better as we came down. Even though the snow was horrid and wet and the ground boggy it didn’t matter. Why should it with views like these

P3051259

P3051262

Rather than return the same way and cut the corner off through the boggy forest, we took the much longer forestry track. Having already done two longish days my knees weren’t happy to bash down a hard track. I was just starting to think that the shortcut would have been better when I (on my own as everyone else had left me behind) emerged from the forest to this view of Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar

P3051267

It was superb and as the shortcut comes out much lower I’d have missed the scene and the light as I’d been down much earlier. From there, the walk down the through the natural forest was breathtaking

P3051269

At every bend there was a better view than the last

P3051270

P3051274

Beinn Challuim stood proud catching the last of the sunlight and framed often by the Scots Pines

P3051276

It was after six when we reached the car with everyone waiting for me and TBF. An absolutely cracking finish and well worth the lost sleep from arriving back home at 2am

P3051277

So our winter gathering over for another year. A new home found and another couple of superb days to live long in the memory all the better shared with loyal friends of long standing.

Tales from the Wacky Winter Part 2   11 comments

P3041205

Normal service resumed. The promised bad weather had arrived and was happily splashing everything with a soaking rain when we roused ourselves for breakfast. Plenty of time for a leisurely feast and long discussions about how best to use a wet and grey day in the middle of nowhere that is the Southern Highlands. The forecast had been evolving and it seemed to promise a ramp-down in the rain in the afternoon. In fact by the time we had re-assembled in the car park to continue the discussion in a colder and less hospitable environment the rain had pretty much stopped. While others went to bag munros and dreary corbetts, a select band chose an altogether more unprepossessing route

P3041206

A horseshoe around the hills behind the hotel, taking in Ben Inverveigh and Meall Tairbh. We hoped their modest height would keep us out of the cloud and although that didn’t quite work out, it was in the end a pretty enjoyable day – of sorts – and challenging in its own way

P3041207

The lower slopes, so often a real grind in these parts was overcome by the West Highland Way and a decent path that took us most of the way to the top. The views weren’t all that bad and we took comfort from the fact it was nowhere near as bad as the forecast from the previous day

P3041208

P3041209

We reached the snowline and wandered across the wide ridge taking in small outcrops and cairns as we went. When the mist came down we amused ourselves with baiting each other with the political and social issues of the day.

P3041210

P3041211

P3041212

After a brief rest below the first summit we pressed on over a col that on the 1:50k map had no contours over a quite wide area – never a good sign in Scotland. In fact it was drier than expected (for that read, extremely boggy rather than a lake disguised as dry land) and interesting in its own way.

P3041215

I found a small and very soggy, wet stream to enliven the climb to the second summit and celebrated its ascent with a fruit pie from Tebay services in the snow (they are well worth a stop on the M6 to stock up for a weekend I can tell you).

The summit of Meall Tairbh was bagged in a white out followed by a long plod down a very boggy ridge and back to Inveroran on the shores of Loch Tulla. I have great memories of this spot. You can park up and pitch on the grass where the road crosses the Allt Tolaghan and we did so many times for winter mountain bagging, retreating to the pub a short walk away to eat and drink. They were happy days. Who am I kidding they were cold days and I much prefer a warm B&B to a cold tent and frozen milk on cornflakes for breakfast. I was kidding they were memorable and fun weekends with a huge number of stories from the archive

P3041216

It was a day that vindicated making the effort. Little in the way of views but good company and a fine walking challenge. I would have drawn you a map to show how far we went but Bing seem to have removed that functionality. Looks like I’ll have to pay for some maps. The cheek of it!

 

Tales from the Wacky Winter Part 1   12 comments

IMG_2472

Winter in the mountains this year has been wildy unpredictable. I’ve been skiing at over 2000m in the Alps over rocks and bare patches of grass while my mate UF has just been suffering from no skiing due to too much snow just a month later. Ahead of our annual trip top the Southern Highlands the conditions changed from full winter, to no snow, back to loads of snow, followed by another thaw, all in a period of less than two weeks. I had no idea whether to pack skis, crampons, axes or shorts for this years trip!

Our home for the past few years has been the Suie Lodge Hotel. Sadly the wonderful owners who looked after us so well have sold up and the place was in transition to new owners so we needed a new home. This year we gave the Bridge of Orchy Hotel a go, more upmarket and pricey but after some negotiation by your truly we got a decent rate. It has a location to die for and the place is rather nice. The bar was out of action for a refurbishment but the rooms were great and the staff superb. Food was also top drawer so the place comes highly recommended

The weather forecast looked promising but drawing back the curtains on the Friday revealed a stunner. Cloudless blue sky and wisps of mist over the summits and valleys. One of the huge benefits of the hotel is the possibility of munros from the door so we chose a route over Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Achaladair leaving a car at the far end so we could make a circuit

IMG_2453

IMG_2454

It was a magnificent day, far better than the forecast had led us to believe.

IMG_2460

IMG_2464

As we ascended Coire an Dothaidh the views just got better and better

IMG_2467

We hit the snowline at 700m and it the transformation was dramatic. From odd patches to complete deep cover in a mater of minutes. It was primarily deep unconsolidated snow on very wet ground so no need for metalwork and it was hard going. Luckily we had fit people in the party happy to break trail for me! 🙂

IMG_2469

IMG_2471

At the col we were in a winter wonderland. There was much exchange of smug grins and talk of people still at work

IMG_2473

IMG_2475

IMG_2474

We pressed on towards the first summit of Beinn an Dothaidh. The snow was in places surprisingly extensive and deep considering there had been a major thaw less than a week ago

IMG_2477

IMG_2478

This range is one of the best in Scotland on a clear day. They stand proud above the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor giving a reals sense of air and space with a huge spread of mountains to the south and west

IMG_2481

IMG_2483

This is the next mountain on the route, Beinn Achaladair

IMG_2484

We hit the edge somewhere between the the three tops and took a wander back to one of the lower tops on a whim, seeing as it was such a nice day.

IMG_2485

IMG_2487

It was an inspired idea. Not only were the views majestic but there was a perfect lunch spot tucked under the rocks, out of the wind and with the best of the views

IMG_2493

IMG_2494

IMG_2491

Ben Cruachan looked particularly superb

IMG_2496

Nothing better than a blue sky day, winter conditions and a chance to savour it with good friends of long standing

IMG_2498

Onwards across the edge to the very shapely north top before plunging down to the col for another climb

IMG_2502

IMG_2505

The ridge to Beinn Achaladair is a long one, although not steep but you barely notice such things on a perfect day

IMG_2506

Lochaber and its vast collection of summits was laid out in front of us

IMG_2507

Even Ben Nevis was clear of cloud

IMG_2510

As the day progressed it became a view of two halves. Supremely clear to the north and west but with cloud building from the south. The advance of bad weather that was forecast for the rest of the weekend. The cloud created some mesmeric lighting effects that my camera didn’t do justice to

IMG_2513

IMG_2518

IMG_2521

The walk along the last part of of the summit ridge was a delight

IMG_2522

It was one of those days that you just don’t want to end. Tired legs and fading light dictated otherwise

IMG_2526

IMG_2528

The party divided. Some chose the easy and longer option of a return to the col. The rest of us plunged down a quite outrageously steep grassy slope on a more direct route to the car.

IMG_2532

The setting sun provided a fitting finale to a memorable day.

IMG_2533

I thought we’d used up all our Scottish good weather luck last year but it was still holding

Winter Wonderland – Taking it Easy   10 comments

After the exertions of the previous two days skiing and in a effort to be more sociable with the rest of the party we opted for a day walk this time. A chance for me to add another missing munro on my quest to take the longest elapsed time to complete the list. Meall Glas was our target plus possibly Sgiath Chuil if we had time (or could be bothered in my case)

It was yet another stunning blue sky day as we started the climb up the track from Auchessan. Ben More, our ski mountain from yesterday looming large

P2280120

P2280122

A nice contrast between the brown heathery lower slopes and the snowy summits. Sgiath Chuil in the distance

P2280124

On  such gorgeous day with a large group, the pace is slow and stops are many. Sometimes idly chatting and stopping to admire the majesty of the surroundings is more important

P2280127

We were soon above the snow line and the going was hard with the snow deep and largely soft. Who cares when the views are this good.

P2280129

P2280131

P2280134

After another lengthy stop for food, brews and dialogue we pressed on towards the summit. There were a couple of pretty steep slopes to ascend requiring crampons and axes to be on standby but nothing too tricky

P2280136

P2280138

P2280141

P2280142

The final summit slopes suddenly felt tiring after 3 straight days in the mountains. Still, the views and the conditions always spur you on

P2280143

It was pretty chilly on the top so we pressed on towards the lower top of Beinn Cheathaich with Sgiath Chuil still  a target. The walk across the summit was magnificent. The snow cover was complete and the surroundings fabulous. It was these images that gave the blogs posts their title. It was a Winter Wonderland. Mountain walking just does not get better than this

P2280146

P2280147

P2280150

P2280152

We paused on the summit so everyone could catch up. Again all shaking our heads in wonder at how amazing the weather was and how lucky we’d been this weekend

P2280153

P2280154

P2280155

P2280157

On the way down towards the Lairig a Churain between Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil I suddenly felt extremely weary. I decided that very long and very steep climb of 1,000 feet back up to Sgiath Chuil was too much and along with TBF and THO decided an easy stroll back from the col was in order. We waved at the others as they set of for the summit and alas didn’t see them again as we left before they got back to the cars

P2280160

P2280161

There had been a gathering haze of cirrus cloud through the day (heralding the fact the weather was to break the next day). Whilst not quite as clear blue it added an even greater atmosphere as the sun began to go down. We stopped for another snack in the middle of this vast expanse of bog now completely filled with snow

P2280167

P2280168

It was a long walk down from the col with much deep snow and several deep gullies to cross. The low light and shadows were just breathtaking. We watched from time to time to see the progress of the others. The slope that MM had chosen looked especially steep (he confirmed later that it had him concerned from time to time

P2280171

P2280173

P2280174

We were not back at the car till 6pm. We’d been out 8 hours and only climbed one summit and done around 6 miles. That’s what happens when you are forced to stop every few hundred yards, look at the view and share the experience with old friends. I didn’t get home till after 1am but it was worth very tired minute at work the next week. What a truly magnificent weekend. Wonder how long I’ll have to wait for the same combination of circumstances

%d bloggers like this: