Sunday, 18 November 2018

GLENCOE WEEKEND


Aonach Eagach from Stob Coire Nan Lochan
A fabulous clear skies weekend almost everywhere in The Highlands. Wall to wall sunshine and slightly cooler temperature in the evening. Perfect timing for our weekend away in the west and some Munro bagging around Glencoe.
Stob Dubh & Bidean nam Bian
On Saturday we had a lovely walk up the two Munros of Stob Coire Raineach & Stob Dubh which make up the main summits of the Buachaille Etive Beag ridge. One of the easiest and shortest ridge walks in the Glencoe area. Quite a few folk out on the hills enjoying the sublime conditions. Not a scrap of snow around.

Glen Etive from Stob Dubh
Aonach Eagach and Ben Nevis from Stob Dubh

Buachaille Etive Mor from Buachaille Etive Beag
Rannoch Moor and Buachaille Etive Beag
On Sunday we had another fabulous day over on the Bidean nam Bian ridge. The two Munros of Stob Coire nan Sgreamhach and Bidean itself make for a wonderful day of ridges and corries. Another busy day with plenty of folk out. It had been a tad colder overnight and there was a splattering of verglas and ice high up.

Beinn Fhada ridge from the summit of Sgreamhach
We're not used to busy mountains!
There are many routes to tackle these two mountains. We set off up the Coire Gabhail or 'The Lost Valley' as some folk like to call it. Despite the wall to wall sun you are in shade for the entire glen until you pop out onto the ridge. E|ven more folk seemed to be out today, all reaching the top of Stob Coire Sgreamhach at the same time!

Bidean Nam Bian from Sgreamhach
By the time we reached the top of Bidean it seemed that everyone had been going in the opposite direction to bag the two hills. From the top we had the rest of the day to ourselves. What a treat. Beautiful late afternoon light was now in front of us. The Aonach Eagach looking stunning with the Autumn glow.



Summit Bidean

Ben Nevis from Bidean

Big Bidean Shadows
Fabulous walk over our final summit of Stob Coire an Lochan. There are grand views from this 'demoted' Munro. Golden light and a moon rising as we walked down with the last 30 minutes in torchlight. Fab.
Golden hour on Aonach Eagach
Loch Leven and Ardgour

Thursday, 15 November 2018

TOO WARM!

I'm ready! Where's he snow?
Clouds breaking at 1pm

Nice afternoon

Windy on the tops!
Looking a bit wet

Never mid, soon be snowing
Pathetic temperatures for mid November. It was into double figures last night in Strathspey! Today, the same. A thick layer of cloud covering the Northern Corries this morning. Challenging conditions in the strong winds, then it started raining. Not ideal conditions for wildlife photography but by mid day it dried up and it was sheltered in certain areas in the corries. Right on cue I found several pairs of ptarmigan sheltering amongst the boulders. They're almost in their winter plumage so not too difficult to spot in the gloom of the coire. With no one around it made life easier too and they were settled nicely for plenty of time to capture a few half decent images. Thankfully it's due to go to normal November temperatures early next week with some light snow forecast over the Cairngorms. Winter is on hold but it will be back very soon! Until then enjoy the warm sun!

Monday, 12 November 2018

MONADHLIATH, WET

Carn Dearg, final Munro

Best view of the day 

Carn Sgulaird 

We could have done with this later on!

3 Munros in the bag

Lovely start 

Loch

Final climb

Dry and clear

Final descent
Andrew has now been out with me for 5 hill days over the last few years. Unfortunately weather hasn't always been on his side when he books a day out with me. Today was no different. He was hoping for some winter conditions but sadly were still in a warm period. Well warm and wet today. Andrew was up with his friend, Joe, who has never walked on the Scottish mountains. This morning we set off from an empty carpark at Glen Banchor to 'bag' the three Munros in the Monadhliath.  These are great hills for Navigation and Joe fancied learning some map and compass skills enroute around the Munro summits of A' Chailleach, Carn Sgulain and Carn Dearg. After about 30 minutes of walking a light rain fell and didn't stop all day bar a few brief moments. Views were limited but the craic was great and kept us all amazed on the long stretch of high ground between the second and third Munros. It's a long descent and walk from the final top of Carn Dearg . At least here we had some nice views before the bog fest on the way back to the car. The final hour was through paddy fields in the dark. A long, wet day but great fun and Joe says he'll be back after his initiation ceremony.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

OTHER SIDE OF THE CAIRNGORMS

Atmospheric cloud on Carn an Tuirc

Best of the blue skies

Carn an Tuirc & Cairn of Claise

Map & compass out a bit today 

Silhoulettes a plenty 

Sunday mists

Sun on Loch Calleter

Post swim reflections

before the rains

Accommodation 
Mountain Hare

….and another

Watching, waiting for snow
Geese

A weekend away on 'the other side o' the Cairngorms '. The mountains to the South of Braemar offer a multitude of days out 'bagging' Munros.  On Saturday we had a romp over the four mountains of Carn an Tuirc, Cairn of Claise, Glas Maol & Creag Leacach. These hills are round and easy angled with nice walking underfoot so not too long a day out. There was no snow on the mountains here. We hardly saw anyone all day. There were more Mountain Hare than humans. Temperatures on the summits were just above freezing and a stiff breeze, not winter like really. The cloud came and went through the day. By afternoon we were in clag and some good navigation from Karen saw us off the hill at mid afternoon with 4 new Munros in the bag for her.
On Sunday the weather forecast wasn't great in the afternoon so we had a wander to Loch Calleter and a dip in the water.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

WINTER IS BACK

Fresh snow 

Ptarmigan 

Fiacaill Buttress

Last weeks refrozen snow

Good day for ptarmigan

Cairn Gorm

Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda

Almost full winter plumage

Coire an t-Sneachda

Good day for ptarmigan photography

Top of Alladin's Couloir
After a few days of warm weather it was back to wintry conditions again today. The temperatures overnight had dropped and there is fresh snow above 800m. This morning there was snow showers down to lower levels but these with brief. By mid day most of the showers had ceased and it was a pleasant day to be out. Those remarkable birds of the high Scottish mountains, the ptarmigan, are just going into their winter plumage. A good day for photographing them. I spent over 20 minutes with a group of about 15 high up in the corrie. Only other folk I saw today was a large group heading up the Goat Track. The remnants of last weeks snow has gone through a melt/freeze cycle and is solid. Unfortunately there isn't much left of this. Just a few patches in corrie rims and tops of gullies.  A stiff breeze on the tops today. Windier and a lot more snow forecast tomorrow, above 900m. Staying cold through the weekend on the higher tops so winter returns.