Monday, 30 January 2017


 Snow buntings low down today

Windblown snow, Northern Cairngorms at 750m

Clear skies with boiling clouds over the Cairngorms

Even the snow buntings getting a face full of snow

Difficult landing conditions

I'll just stay in my snow hole today
A bottle with the winds at Cairngorm carpark 

Clear skies overnight in The Cairngorms with a low of minus 8 degrees C in Aviemore. Up on the hills it was around 50mph even at lower levels. Loads of windblown snow sweeping across the plateau and down to carpark level at Coire Cas. Some difficult walking conditions today along with a high windchill. Plenty of snow buntings down at low levels today and just wildlife photography was a struggle, with cold hands, blowing snow and standing upright for sharp images. These wonderful, hardy wee birds are a common sight on The Cairngorm mountains and always a pleasure to see. Another bird you are guranteed to see when booking on a  Wildlife & Photography course with Tarmachan Mountaineering. Winter is back with a vengeance. Looks like more on the way midweek.

Sunday, 29 January 2017


Stag Rocks

Kenneth enjoying the scenery

Cairngorm plateau with good snow cover

Top of Hells Lum

Loch Avon

Loch Avon and Carn Etchacan, Shelterstone

Navigation day today

Stag Rocks and Loch Avon

Late afternoon on Cairn Lochan

Virgin snow

Sunset on Cairngorm plateau
What a day to be out on the hills. Clear skies across much of The Highlands today. Yesterdays constant snowfall which lasted well into the night had transformed the Cairngorms to full winter conditions. As I have previously stated on my blogs this season, winter can come back as quickly as it can disappear. What a transformation across the mountains. Wind slab even at lower elevations made for hard going and trail breaking most of the day. Luckily I have Kenneth out with me for his second day. Today was mostly concentrating on navigation. We covered a vast area of the Cairngorm plateau and getting over to more remote areas so Kenneth could savour all the qualities of the Cairngorms. A great couple of days out and a complete contrast to yesterdays low cloud and snowfall. Unsettled and stormy period midweek with more snowfall to come. Maybe a t last winter is now here to stay.

Saturday, 28 January 2017


Steep ground

Coire an Lochain

Step cutting

Fresh snow at lower levels

Crampons and neve

Kenneth enjoying first taste of winter

Sliding chute getting icier by the day
At last, we have snow falling to low levels all day today in The Cairngorms. A steady, light snowfall and becoming heavier by dusk. The hills looked more like a January day with a fair few cm's by the end of the afternoon. Kenneth is out with me for two days of skills. His first time out in winter conditions. We headed into the nearest piece of snow, yes Coiran Lochain again. Busy there today, all this social media to blame I would say! There were at least two different MRT groups in the Coire but we still found lots of areas to ourselves and the Twin Burns was deserted by the time we worked or way over there. My siding chute for axe arresting is now becoming quite icy and a good, fast and you may say painful run is now guaranteed! Of course axe arresting comes low down on the vital skills to master, discuss that one with yourselves :) It was snowing down at Glenmore level on the way home. Looks like a cracking blue skies day tomorrow and staying cold.

Friday, 27 January 2017


Lurchers Crag and Braeriach above Glen Einich

The Argyll Stone above Glen Feshie

Windy clouds

Braeriach and Sgor Gaoithe

Another sunny day

Northern corries of Braeraich
Another glorious blue skies morning in The Cairngorms National Park. The winds were a tad lighter today. The Glen Feshie hills are just wonderful and many routes to gain the big sprawling plateau. The route in from Glen Einich is a seldom used ones, pathless all the way up to the Argyll Stone. If you're looking for peace and quiet in the hills then you can be assured you'll not meet another soul. Just a couple of ravens and a few ptarmigan on the hill today. Combined with a lovely bike ride up Glen Einich, this is a brilliant morning out directly from the house with some wonderful views of Braeriach. The hills are bone dry at the moment with no precipitation for some days now. Snow showers and colder temperatures forecast tonight and over the weekend. Winter may just be returning to our hills, thankfully.

Thursday, 26 January 2017


Hells Lum Crag

Loch Avon and Shelterstone Crag

Devils Point and Beinn a' Ghlo shimmering in the sun

Wind no problem for the ptarmigan

Icicles, Feithe Buidhe

Cairngorm plateau

Feithe Buidhe

More ice

Coire Domhain

Ptarmigan again
It was a glorious blue skies day, from dawn to dusk in The Cairngorms. High winds of 50-60mph, even at lower altitudes so just manageable without being a struggle. Over at the Feithe Buidhe there was some nice shelter away from the gales and of course one of the finest, if not the finest view in the entire Cairngorms. From the Feithe Buidhe down to the slabs there is some great snow and ice for winter skills. It was a grand day to be out despite the lack of snow across the plateau. The temperatures were just above freezing on the tops, the night time temperatures well below so all good news for some great snow and ice. If you were contemplating heading over to Ben Macdui there are many large areas where you need to cross the lingering snowfields. In poor weather you will definitely still need some good navigational skills. There are snow showers forecast over the weekend, a blizzard or two go down nicely.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


Above Hells Lum

Softer snow in the slightly milder temperatures

We found an area o snow untouched

Hells Lum Crag

Feithe Buidhe

Navigation in th wind

Over 1 metre of snow in this location

This is my snow so bugger off

Hells Lum and Feithe Buidhe
Loch Avon

Second day out with Heather and John. Today they wanted lots of navigation. We headed up onto the Cairngorm plateau on a breezy day. The temperatures had gone up overnight and today so the snow was a bit softer and crampons not needed. Plenty of big snow areas on the plateau, especially in SE and  aspects. The area around Hells Lum, Feithe Buidhe and Stag Rocks was good. Diagonal Gully was complete and looked like a few folk had been up and down it. Good day out and good craic with Heather and John who now feel more confident in going out on winter terrain and navigating in more featureless terrain.