Friday, 31 May 2013


Henry and his family from Malaysia were out with me today for a guided walk up the Pony Track on The Ben. It was cooler than yesterday and we had low cloud and drizzle for much of the day. So they never got the wonderful views but the cloud did lift and sun came out last hour. Lots of 3 Peak Challengers heading up late afternoon- they got the best of the weather.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Another fabulous blue skies day and even warmer than yesterday with Lochber and Ben Nevis enjoying the best if the weather in the UK. The photos tell the story!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


A beautiful sunny day over in the west. I'm over working in Lochaber for a few days and today Sarah,Mel,Steve,Russell,Michael,Dave,Neil,Alistair & Roger were out with me and assissted by Brian for a fab traverse over the CMD arete onto Ben Nevis. The views were stunning, the company great and sunshine very welcome. Well done to all the team and especially for over half the team who were complete novices to mountain walking. Big thanks to Brian. Looking like another stunning day tomorrow.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Karen enjoying the warm sun, Coire Brochain in the background
The Pools of Dee and Cairn Toul
Snows finally melting in the Lairig Ghru
Our camp high above Corrour Bothy, Ben Macdui beyond
Garbh Corrie Mor
Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine from Breariach
It was a fine weekend with glorious blue skies and warm sunshine on Saturday, more cloud cover on the Sunday but it did brighten up later. Karen and I had an excellent two day wild camping trip. We headed up The Lairig Ghru and camped high above Corrour Bothy on day 1. I had never seen so many wild campers heading up onto the plateau, but I guess with it being a Bank Holiday weekend and fabulous weather then why not? The evening was lovely and peaceful, the temperatures quite mild with the high cloud cover later on during the early hours. Sunday we had an early start and traversed the remote Munros of Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Braeriach. It looked like there was going to be some rain but it actually brightened up as the afternoon grew close and we got some nice views as we approached Braeriach. Still big areas of snow even low down in the Lairig Ghru but cover on the plateau has diminished dramatically and only Braeriach  has any large areas of snow left. Looking a bit wet and windy today (Monday) but two days out of 3 ain't bad!

Friday, 24 May 2013


What a contrast in the weather compared to yesterday's wind, low cloud and snowfall. After a cloudy start the day just got better and better, lots of blue skies, hardly any wind high up  and it felt warm in the sun. There is fresh snow down to 700m or so on the higher mountains. I fancied a challenge of biking up Meall a Bhuacaille. There was some hoofing involved on the stepped sections and snow drifts. Beautiful views on the top and one of the finest views of the Cairngorm plateau. Wasn't quite up to the steep steps down to Ryvoan on the way down! But fantastic fun in the soft snow on the easier top section from the summit! Looks like The Cairngorms are going to have the best weather with lots of sun and light winds over the weekend.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Looking over to Cairn Gorm from Meall a' Bhuachaille
Ryvoan Bothy in the snow
Biking in the snow
There was wet snow falling in the garden this morning, up at Ryvoan Bothy it was dry snow and settling and higher up on Meall a' Bhuachaille there was wind blown snow, snow drifts, and near white out at the summit area! The last couple of days the winds have been strong from a northerly direction blowing in Arctic air. I almost needed ski goggles on the bike descending from Ryvoan-anything over 20kmh on the bike and you were blinded! :) . A great morning out! Winds dying down and getting a bit milder with some sunshine next couple of days so maybe a bit more like May. This cold snap isn't that unusual, I have been walking through snow in June on the hills of Torridon and Glen Affric before, but it's been a while since I last saw snow settling at 400m.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Some clean, solid rock for a nice scramble. Coire Dhondall still holding snow. Braeriach summit far top left
Would make a nice winter route
Sgor Gaoithe & Loch Einich in the sun
Snow melting fast on the plateaux
Fine views into Coire Odhar from the buttress/ridge
It started off dull and overcast but the weather forecast was spot on as by the middle of the day there were a few holes in the cloud and some nice spells of bright sunshine in The Cairngorms. Timed it right as I biked along Glen Einich and the sun just started breaking out as I got to the loch. I wandered up the lovely stalkers path from Loch Einich into Coire Dhondall which eventually comes onto the plateau of Braeriach. There are still some long stretches of snow lingering down the burn lines from the plateau into Loch Einich which cross the path but these are easily negotiated. The final steepening onto the plateau still has a huge amount of banked up snow, where the path comes close to the waterfall, and there is a huge crevasse so not long before this eventually collapses. I  wandered over to the buttress which bounds the corrie to the SW. It's quite bouldery and broken but good fun and not too loose, the scrambling was very short lived but a really nice way onto the plateau and great views down to Loch Einich. Not much evidence of any traffic here, it would be good fun under winter conditions. Looks like temperatures are dropping again over the next couple of days. Where's the hot sun?

Friday, 17 May 2013


Braeriach from the summit
Looking north from the summit of Sgorr Gaoithe
The plateau looking south
The summit & Loch Einich
Clear views to the west & north west
It was a very pleasant, sunny and windless day in the Cairngorms despite the weather forecasts predicting overcast skies. It felt more like what Mid-May weather should be like. The clarity of air today was superb and from the summit of Sgorr Gaoithe there were superb views to Breariach and out west the snow capped Creag Meagaidh & Ben Nevis could be seen well. Shame that tomorrow looks to be a damp affair but things improving for Sunday and Monday and temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of 20 degrees out west!

Thursday, 16 May 2013


Coire Brochain
Cairn Toul & Sgor an Lochain Uine
The easier gully lines still full
Some cornice debris below the summit
The corrie in afternoon sun
The Larig Ghru & Cairn Toul
'Braeriach is so big and varied that no one can know it well who has not wandered into every corrie and explored its plateau and flanks without hurry'. Words form Dr. Adam Watson, the respected and probably the most experienced and knowledgeable person on The Cairngorms, in his SMT district guidebook to The Cairngorms. Coire Brochain is one of those corries I have never wandered into until today. It was a fine morning with bright sunshine and the winds light. Temperatures had risen into double figures at sea level today so it felt like Spring. I biked up to The Lairig Ghru and then walked into Coire Brochain which is the big SE facing corrie directly below the summit area. If you are looking for solitude this is the place to be and amongst fine mountain scenery. The cloud did drift in and there was a few very, very brief hail/snow showers but the cloud was always above the summits. In fact the weather improved as the day grew longer and some good breaks in the cloud. Still some depth of snow in the corrie, probably over 1 metre all soft but an ice axe would have been a good idea today.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Another cool day but once again The Cairngorms fared best with some excellent sunny spells today. I was lucky to escape with only one 5 minute shower. I had a great bike ride up The Feshie, via Inshriach Bothy and then over to the West side of the River Feshie and some new ground on the bike. A great circuit round Creag Dubh before heading up to the high point of Creag Farrleiter which gives fab views down to Uath Lochan below the crag. Spectacular riding down from the crag to the Uath Lochan and it's  several smaller ones close by.

Sunday, 12 May 2013


Coire an Lochan, the Great Slab not far from 'going'
Almost full cover of snow from 1100m
Looking over to Cairn Toul-Braeriach before the cloud dropped
Getting busy with 'Summer' walkers
Another unsettled spell of weather in The Highlands, cooler temperatures overnight and a sprinkling of snow high up. Karen and I were out on Ben Macdui today and it was below freezing on the plateau which is still with an almost full cover of snow. There was an icy crust on the higher slopes. The cloud base dropped and the winds slightly increased  but we were off the hill by early afternoon. A couple of winter climbing parties were in Coire an t-sneachda today and a few die hard skiers with limited skiing in Coire Cas but it is mid May!

Friday, 10 May 2013


The Cairngorms once again enjoyed sunny skies for much of the day and superb visibility with a northerly airflow. Good cloudscapes for photography with fab cumulus clouds looming above. I biked over the Rycoan Pass down to Forest Lodge in the Abernethy forest then across to Dorbeck Lodge which was a bit rough and boggy. Back through Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten along the Speyside Way. Very quiet on the trails just now.