Thursday, 30 April 2015

TARMACHAN MOUNTAINEERING END OF WINTER VIDEO

video
My end of winter video. Thanks to all clients and friends this winter for another excellent season.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

BIKING, SUNSHINE, CAPERCAILLE, BIG HAIL

A moody & snowy  Lairig Ghru & Braeriach
Nice biking trails
Typical Capercaille habitat
Big hail in Aviemore later
Many large trees down since I was last up here in February
I made a valiant attempt of getting my annual tax return done this morning. There was only so much sunshine streaming through the window to postpone it and get outside! An afternoon biking on some lovely trails and woodland where the elusive and rare Capercaille hang out. Last time I saw a Capercaille in this forest was December 2013 when I had a wonderful encounter with a male of the species. Today I was so lucky to see a female caper fly straight across my path, not enough time to grab the camera unfortunately. There really isn't anything more obvious has Capercaille, you cannot mistake this big bird for anything else! The clouds darkened this afternoon and the Cairngorm mountains were looking very gloomy on the way back down. A 30 minute graupel (hail stone) shower back in Aviemore. Very unusual weather we are experiencing this last couple of weeks. Heatwave, winter and apparently strong winds forecast next week, we will see!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

BIT MORE SNOW & A BIT COLDER

Cairn Gorm & The Northern Corries from Meall a' Bhuachaille
A bit more snow overnight
Snow on the bike in along Glenmore
Another clear morning
The locals at Loch Morlich

Another dusting of overnight snow. Cold again high up and a high windchill even on Meall a' Bhuachaille today. Snow low down this morning but once the sun was up it was quite pleasant in the glens. The snow isn't going anyway fast! Still forecast to be below freezing on the mountains until at least the weekend. Isn't it May then?

Monday, 27 April 2015

FIACAILL RIDGE TRANSFORMED INTO WINTER

Wonderful dribbles of ice over the Fiacaill's Ridge
Blue skies and bags of sun this morning
Windslab, ice and neve on the route today
Fresh windslab deposits on Eastern aspects
Great ice at the end of April!
More ridge fun
Coire an t-sneachada
Snow down to Glenmore early this morning

Yesterday we had plenty of snow falling down in Aviemore, it was blizzard like at times. This morning dawned clear and bright with temperatures in the glens well below freezing. The Ski road up to Cairngorm had the snow gates closed first thing, but open later in the morning. The Fiacaill Ridge was looking very wintry again after the snows. There was plenty of fresh wind slab on eastern slopes and surprisingly big amounts of fresh snow on the western side of The Fiacaill. Lovely dribbles of ice all over the rocky ridge making for a nice photo morning. The plateau is still mainly bare ground with only small areas of deep wind slab about. The old snow patches are of course well frozen too. The wind picked up in the afternoon which started blowing the loose snow around, it was feeling like the start of winter all over again!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

WINTER RETURNS TO THE CAIRNGORMS

Fresh snow above 700m on Meall a' Bhuachaille
Cold and breezy on the tops
The Northern Corries, Cairngorms
Clusters of cloud and sun today
Lovely cumulus clouds


As forecasted, the weather has turned a wee bit wintry. We had a fresh dusting of snow on the hill above 700m last night/early morning. With some snow showers through the day it felt like we were plunged back into winter. There was plenty of snshine today and atmospheric cumulus clouds. Meall a' Bhuachaille make s for a nice hill day with fine views of the main Cairngorm plateau. I think the scenery will be even whiter than this come the end of the week, with low temperatures on the mountains and snow showers forecasted through the next few days. Will be interesting to see how much snow falls. Dont put your big boots and axes away just yet!




















































Friday, 24 April 2015

BEN MACDUI & CAIRN GORM BY THEIR FINEST ROUTES

Kirsty & Jason enjoying the scrambling along the Fiacaill Ridge
A fine day for the Fiacaill Ridge
Enjoying the exposure
Nearly there!
Cairn Toul - Braeriach plateau from near the summit of Ben Macdui
Not a bad lunch time view
How could you dare walk past this when heading to Ben Macdui?
Shelterstone Crag from top of Hells Lum
Loch Avon Basin & Beinn Mheadhoin
Jason celebrating on our way to Cairn Gorm
Looking back at the Fiacaill Ridge
HellsLum Crag & Cairn Gorm in the distance
Coire an t-sneachda
Kirsty & Jason were out with me back in January on a two day winter course. Their planned second day was dire weather with 100mph + winds on the tops so we re arranged another suitable date for them. They chose today in the hope of some kinder weather and they came up trumps. With virtually wall to wall sunshine it was a great day to explore the Cairngorm plateau. They are working their way through the Munro summits with Ben Macdui & Cairn Gorm still to bag. I came up with a route that is (probably) the best way to get the two hills and see some of the finest features of the area. The Fiacaill Ridge onto the plateau is a wonderful, easy scramble to kick off the day. Their first taste of scrambling and they were soon enjoying the good holds and brilliant exposure. Walking across the plateau there are stll a few large areas of snow lingering across from Cairn Lochan to Ben Macdui but it was all soft in the blazing sun and we had only very light winds. It was much cooler than of late with very clear air. We couldn't believe how quiet it was on the hill, we saw just a couple of folk on the descent from Macdui. Of all the thousands of people who walk up to Macdui there must be a tiny fraction of them that make the easy detour to take in the jewel of the Cairngorms - The view of the Loch Avon Basin from the top of the Garbh Uisge Beag. Secret Britain? Pulling ourselves away from this beautiful spot we headed over the Northern Corries enroute to the final Munro summit of Cairn Gorm. A top day out and a day to remember for Jason and Kirsty.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A GREAT END TO THE APRIL HEATWAVE

Robin doing a great balancing act 600m above Loch Einich, Braeriach beyond
The summit of Sgor Gaoithe
MMonadh Liath and Creag Meagaidh from the 'Sgorans'
This was a Munro summit
Boating fun yesterday on Loch Morlich
The Tarmachan takes to water!
A fine day for paddling with fine views of The Cairngorms Northern Corries
And the inflatable Kayak sits in a nice wee bag
Another very fine couple of days in The Cairngorms with gorgeous weather. I've spent a great couple of days with a colleague, Robin from my days with Oban MRT. We had a great day in his inflatable kayak yesterday on Loch Morlich. I wasn't convinced of taking to the high waters with a blow up boat when we discovered there was a hole in the vessel. A quick fix with a patch from a bicycle repair kit sorted this out and we were soon having a great paddle. Robin must have been sure of my boating skills as he left me on my own in the loch for a few minutes. Today we had a day on Sgor Gaoithe, a new Munro for Robin. The last warm and sunny day for a wee while as the weather takes a dive from tomorrow and over the weekend with snow forecast on the hills. Brilliant two days and great to catch up, thanks for the kayak coaching skills Robin :).

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

ANGELS RIDGE & BREARIACH-CAIRN TOUL TRAVERSE

A magnificent Angels Ridge & a frozen Lochan Uaine
Angels Ridge. Hard snow, warm rock, blue skies, hot sun
Cairn Toul from the ridge
Near the top with fine views into Garbh Corrie Mor
Ben Macdui & Sgor an Lochain Uaine showing the north side Angels Ridge
Coire Brochain from the top of  Sgor an Lochain Uaine Angels Ridge
Coire Bhrochain
Cairn Toul & Sgor an Lochain Uaine & Angels Ridge from The Lairig Ghru
Much snow left in eastern corries
Braeriach and the Lairig Ghru from Cairn Toul
Sgor an Lochain Uaine & Agels Ridge & Garh Corrie from Cairn Toul
The amazing spell of fine weather continues! Another day of blue skies, hot sun and windless mountain tops. Angels Ridge is a wonderful scramble and the finest route onto the Munro of Sgor an Lochain Uaine (Angels Peak). It's a long approach up the Lairig Ghru, takes me around 4 hours to the foot of the ridge. Biking from the house to the edge of the forest on The Lairig Ghru knocks off a fair amount of the long walk-in. There is still a lot of snow in Braeriach's corries (as usual for this time of year). Despite the hot sun on exposed slopes the snow is still firm and crunchy, it was a mix of warm rock, hard snow and ice on this grade 1 scramble. Another day of many photos as I continued over to the Munro summits of Cairn Toul and traversed back along the plateau to Braeriach. This is one of the finest high level mountain  traverses in Britain. A grand 12 hour day out and I saw no one all day, not even on the segway paths of Rothemurchus.