Sunday, 27 November 2011


After yesterday's  milder temperatures with continuous rain at all levels the temperature dropped again today and a return to snow. The constant snow showers to 500m and strong winds were enough for goggles, even at lower altitudes. The winds did ease later in the day and the cloud base lifting, with the odd very brief sunburst. The general trend seems to be for the temperatures to be lowering by midweek and into December with plenty of snowfall in the West and NW Highlands.

Friday, 25 November 2011


A much colder day with snow falling to lower levels and settling at 500m. I took a run up to the CIC Hut this afternoon and a strong chilly wind was blowing. Forecast is for even stronger winds but warmer temperatures tomorrow and then cold again Sunday. The long term forecast is for much more snow at the end of the month and into December. Winter at long last!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


It was a stunningly beautiful winter's morning in Lochaber. Just a small weather window to appreciate what is to come for winter. There was a temperature inversion today with the top of the cloud at about 250m and above clear skies. The rain last night had turned to snow above 850m in the cooler temperatures and a light dusting of quite icy snow looked fabulous. The Carn Mor Dearg arete had a good coating of rime ice in places and was passable with care and without crampons. The cloud did roll in in the afternoon as another weather front was coming in from the SW. The Southerly wind whipped up too and there was even loose snow getting blown about. A windchill today with freezing level around 1000m I would say, all in all a grand winters day. Forecast for much more by the end of the month.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


It was a fine clear morning in Lochaber, there had been an overnight frost and it really felt like a winter's morning at last. Paul and I had a day over in Glencoe on Stob Coire nan Lochan & Bidean nam Bian. It was a latish start and by mid day the cloud from the south started rolling on the stiff breeze. There was some ice higher up and even some rime ice on some aspects. I was just thinking back to this day last year when we had over one metre of snow on the North face of The Ben! The cloud broke up again as we descended into Coire nan Lochan and a fine sunset was developing.

Monday, 14 November 2011


Unbelievably we have had almost two weeks of  long sunny spells and dry weather, in November! The temperatures were high once again and the sun shone merrily most of the day in the west. The big high pressure sitting over most of Europe is producing SE winds and holding back the Atlantic fronts as well as bringing in warm air.  It was a bit breezy along Ledge Route today but there is plenty of rock to hold on to and it made it a wee bit more exciting. The visibility was really clear, Skye in the distance looking good. There as been a bit of controversy the last couple of weeks regarding the marker post at the top of No.4 Gully. Apparently someone had uprooted it and chucked it partway down No.4 Gully a few days ago but today it was re erected. The John Muir Trust had recently announced/proposed an consultation about it being  removed in keeping with their policies on 'wild land'. I guess someone wanted to do the job for them. I suppose there isn't going to be an answer to please everyone. It was a very pleasant walk down, so quiet and such beautiful weather. Even the ptarmigan know it's getting quiet as I spotted a couple just off the Pony Track. A couple of more nice days to come  in the West Highlands before the South  Westerlies return with rain, hopefully snow if the temperatures drop. Make the most of it, get out and enjoy it NOW!

Thursday, 10 November 2011


With a forecast of more sun and blue skies in the west today I tok the bike and myself onto the train over to Glenfinnan. I hadn't been on the two Munros of Sgurr Thuilm and Sgurr nan Coireachan for a while and a bike saves a lot of road walking up Glen Finnan. Unfortunately the River Finnan is getting damned and an hydro electric scheme is under way, at the moment it is a big building site! The bridge over the Tollaidh river as been removed too but with no rain for a while the crossing was not a problem. Thankfully 300m up the ridge the noise and clutter down below was soon out of earshot and some lovely ridge walking, peace and quiet and nice views for the rest of the day. There was a stiff SE wind and a couple of light, brief showers through the day but the tops were clear. Not very good light for photographs today. On the way back along the bulldozed track I had a chat with the estate manager. Apparently the power will be switched on in 3 weeks and the ugly track is to be restored back to it's former narrower track. A lovely sunset at Glenfinnan monument waiting for the train back to FW and a beautiful full moon tonight. Mild again today, hopefully these frustrating warm SE winds will  end soon and something colder to come.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Castle Ridge
Exploring below Tower Ridge
The cloud bubble on The Ben
The sun was shining and it was quite mild again in Lochaber today. There was a stubborn bubble of cloud plonked right on top of The Ben all day. Out to the west was best today with the hills toward Glenfinnan  basking in the clearer skies. Forecasts are for mild conditions over the next few days so no sign of snow yet.

Monday, 7 November 2011


The beautiful crescent ridge between Sgorr Bhan & Sgorr Dhearg
The scramble on the North ridge of Sgorr  Bhan
The Glencoe hills from Sgorr Dhearg
The view from Sgorr Dhonhuill
The long weekend of beautiful dry and sunny weather continued and today saw even  better conditions. Completely clear skies and warm sun after a cold night/early morning with very little wind. I had a walk around the commonly named 'Ballachulish Horseshoe' ridge above Ballachulish village. The two Munros of Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonhuill stand in wonderful isolation above Loch Leven and give superb views. The best way I like to do the walk is by using the excellent bus service from The Fort to West Laroch and ascending Sgorr Bhan's north ridge which gives some nice easy scrambling and continues onto the Munro of Sgorr Dhearg. Just as I was scrambling along the narrow ridge  6 ptarmigan took off from their perch all dressed up in  white plumage, ready for winter except there isn't any snow! This was the only living thing I saw all day (apart from ravens, sheep, deer), not a soul about on such a beautiful November day? Across to Sgorr Dhonuill and another fab view point looking across to Loch Linnhe as the sun was waning and the full moon rising. Down to South Ballachuilish and well timed for the bus home A stunning day, don't get much better than this for November, well some snow would be good.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


The fun bit on Ledge Route and a rare shot of yours truly
Looking back at the exposure
The ladies of the Ciste Corrie
At last the beginning of a few days of dry and sunny weather ahead. Today my fiancee and I had a very nice day on Ledge Route. The only company we had were a few hinds and a distant stag in the Ciste Corrie, looking very relaxed and photogenic at our presence. There was some lovely warm sun and not a breath of wind as we headed on up the hill. The cloud did come and go somewhat and no views on the top but we did enjoy lovely sunset views on our way down to the Ben Nevis Inn. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Another dry day, we are so privileged! The winds had strengthened and gone back to SW so it was back to very warm temperatures. I collected my bike from the Steall Falls carpark (where I left it from yesterday's jaunt) then had a quick run up onto Carn Beag Dearg. The winds weren't too strong to walk in and the ground seemed a lot drier than of late. No sign of the temperatures dropping this week unfortunately.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


A beautiful sunny day at last. After all the wet and windy weather recently it was such a nice feeling to have the sun on my face and no waterproofs. I had a wander up Aonach Beag & Aonach Mor from Upper Glen Nevis. This is the finest walking route up to this Munro, taking in the south tops along the way.  The colours are beautiful at the moment and with the sun out it was even better. There was a stiff breeze and feeling cooler than the last few days. The cloud kept coming and going through the day for atmosphere. When I got down to the bealach between the two hills I spotted a few rucksacks just down in the gully on the East face. It must only be someone measuring the surviving snow patch I thought, sure enough Atila and his sons were down at the patch. It looks like it could well disappear this year if the cool weather and some snow doesn't arrive soon. I had a good chat with Atila on the way up to Aonach Mor summit where we got a brief snow shower. Then it was all downhill to the bottom of the Nevis Range Gondola. A fine beginning to November.