Sunday, 27 March 2016


Nice to see blue skies, sun and dry weather
Shower clouds but we were dry
Reindeer watching on top
My kind of clouds
Lots of Lapwings about
After yesterdays soaking and grey day up to our ankles in bog, it was lovely to be basking in sunshine today. WE headed north of the Cairngorm mountains in search of a rain shadow. The Cromdale Hills are much lower but give fine walking and it is some years since I last wandered around these 700m tops. We had sunshine all day, despite the threat of some shower clouds hovering over us. Colder than yesterday, there was fresh overnight snow to lower levels on the big hills throughout much of The Highlands. Back to winter conditions if you ventured higher up today. For us, we were just happy to enjoy some Spring sunshine, some wildlife and great company.

Saturday, 26 March 2016


Crossing Monathliath snow (in it's water form)
The quiet and wet Munro summit of Geal Charn
Looking up the long slopes to Geal Charn
Great conditions for these guys
Best of todays views
Today was the first time all winter that it rained on me from car park to Munro and back to car park. We headed to the solitary Munro summit of Geal Charn in the Monadhliath for a shortish day out. Having a very late start (12.30), I guess to put off the inevitable soaking. This range of 4 Munros are renowned for the boggy underfoot conditions and today's weather just exasperated the squelching. You would need to be a real Munro bagger if you did the whole range in a single outing! We saw no one on the hill, a Munro on an Easter weekend? Where was everyone hiding?

Friday, 25 March 2016


The Cairngorms from the Ryvoan Pass
Male and female Goldeneye
Black Headed Gull
Coire an t-Sneachda
Great day for biking
It was a lovely Spring like day in the glens around the Cairngorms. Great day for biking. We cycled the classic Ryvoan Pass to Nethy Bridge then over to Loch Garten and back along the Speyside Way to Aviemore. Lots of great wildlife along the way and no shortage of cafes for stops on this route. Still wintery up on the hills and there was a chilly breeze today. Still plenty of winter conditions if you want to extend your season. Looking a bit wet and windy for Monadhliath tomorrow.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Mike enjoying the comforts of the snowhole
Hard work, concrete like snow for digging
A quick jaunt into the Loch Avon basin this morning
Soft snow conditions
Dinner time in the White Restaurant
Calm and good conditions at Loch Avon
A cloudbase hovering around 1100m last 2 days
Mikes first time out in winter
Occasional blue skies

Cairn Lochan
Long daylight hours just now
A 'Snowhole Experience' has long been on Mikes bucket list of things to do along with a trek up Kili and various other mountain trips this year. The last two days we've enjoyed rather benign Cairngorm conditions. No wind, dry, not cold. We headed out on Tuesday morning and there was some blue skies but the cloud seem to just hang around at the 1100m level. We had plenty of time to dig our home for the night in very hard snow conditions. It was the consistency of concrete! We eventually decided on just enlarging an existing snow home and built on a wee extension. No wind during the night so no drifting problems. The temperature was just above freezing but because of the excellent hard refrozen snow we had no issues with dripping or roof sagging. This morning we were up early to have a few hours of  walking around and up and down the Loch Avon basin area. Still plenty of snow in here and the water running out from the Garbh Uisge and Feithe Buidhe isn't a problem with plenty of depth of snow. Very quiet on the hills, more ptarmigan than folk out. Well done Mike, he is looking for another couple of days out with me next winter, but maybe from the comforts of an Aviemore hotel :)

Sunday, 20 March 2016


Coire an t-Sneachda, clear later in the afternoon
Most of the day it was white
Lots of this today
I thought it was Spring?
Well I've got my Spring plumage
Cafe for lunch
Some more of this
After a full week of beautiful clear skies above a temperature inversion, it was back to more winter like conditions today. Much colder temperatures had frozen up the snow pack, including the plateau area. We did plenty of navigation today, some of it quite tricky, especially getting to our snow hole cafe for lunchtime. The cloud did lift later in the afternoon and the Cairngorm plateau was mostly clear by 3pm. A cool breeze meant a few more layers were on today. Plenty of patrmigan pairing up on the plateau ready for some Spring time courting. Looking like the cooler temperatures will remain into next week. Good news for me, as I have a Snow hole course coming up on Tuesday.

Friday, 18 March 2016


Jonathan, Jamie & Andrew enjoying the fab views on Macdui
Hard snow this morning above another temperature inversion
Fiacaill Ridge, snow still hard
Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine & Braeriach
Break time at Loch Avon viewpoint
Top of Jacobs Ladder looking steep
Cairn Toul left and Angels Ridge right
Cairn Gorm summit
The inversion creeps up
Summit of Ben Macdui

The inversion creeps up to Cairn Gorm

Jamie ofn the Fiacaill above an inversion
Jonathan, Jamie and Andrew joined me today. They were after a nice days walking in The Cairngorms. They booked many weeks ago and little did they know they were going to get a fantastic day in the sunshine. Yet another temperature inversion today, the top of the cloud was around 700m this morning and very slowly creeped up to 900m by late afternoon. We were basking in glorious sunshine and clear blue skies. I took them on a 'tour of the best places' around the Cairngorm plateau. We kicked off with an ascent on the Fiacaill Ridge which is till holding snow on its western slopes. The snow was hard and frozen earlier this morning, we had a 8am start so enjoyed good conditions and a quiet ridge. Then it was across the plateau and up to Ben Macdui for some fabulous views over to the Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Braeriach trio. Absolutely glorious views and very clear with just the distant hills of 1000m and above poking out of the inversion. Out to the west looked clear at all levels. The light wind was much cooler today, coming from a northerly direction. Then it was over to the lip of the Loch Avon basin for pic-nic-ing and more beautiful views. Last was another Munro tick for the guys as we finished on Cairn Gorm. We eventually entered back into the cloud at 900m, descending Windy Ridge. A fab day out with great company and stunning, stunning weather. What a week. Every day this week we have enjoyed these conditions. Back to more cloud and colder tomorrow as the high pressure system drifts slowly away.

Thursday, 17 March 2016


Coire an t-Sneachda
Northern Cairngorms from Meall a' Bhuachaille
Lovely evening
The Mallards on Loch Morlich enjoying the sun too
The suns getting a bit boring so here is the moon instead
Even warmer temperatures today. Yet another temperature inversion in Strathspey but this disappeared mid morning leaving a beautiful clear skies day. An easy bike and hike up Meall a' Bhuachaille today, one of the finest wee hill days in The Cairngorms. The afternoon light just beautiful. One more nice day tomorrow then things looking colder, cloudier and back to winter. Don't forget it is still March. Winter finishes 1st April.......or after!