Tuesday, 28 March 2017


Karen, first time out in winter

Sunrise over Cairn Lochan

Andrew front pointing

Alpine conditions again

Coire an Lochain

This is fun!

The cliffs of Cairn Lochan

Icebergs of Coire an Lochain

Blue skies and sun

Cooling down in Coire Domhain snowholes

Northern Corries & Cairngorm plateau

Snowhole City

Ben Macdui from Cairn Gorms slopes

Steep ground above Coire an Lochain
The last of the 'Alpine', days. Another overnight freeze up followed by a blue bird day with hot sun. Karen and Andrew booked me last minute for a winter day out to catch the last of these wonderful conditions we have had over the last few days. They fancied a walk around the Northern Corries and Cairn Gorm, coupled with some experience in axe and crampons. Most of any winter conditions are in Coire an Lochain & Coire an t-Sneachda. Large areas of the plateau are now bare, over toward Ben Macdui there is still a decent snow cover. We walked into Coire an Lochain under a beautiful warm sun this morning. Once again the corrie was deserted apart from a couple of climbers high up. We traversed the corrie with superb hard neve, brilliant for cramponing and an absolute joy. Once out onto the plateau we were in the heat and down to base layers yet again this week! First time out for Andrew and Karen with axe and crampons and they just loved it, they may just  be hooked!
So that was my last booked and planned winter course this season. Thanks to all friends, clients and of course my wife for another fabulous winter season in the Scottish hills. It wasn't that bad a season, there have been far worse ones with regards to snow conditions. Some folk have short memories. I remember the 80's and early 90's which were pretty poor fair. All my booked courses ran this year, just one was rescheduled. In fact February saw one of my busiest so far! Full round up and video of winter 16/17 to come.
Of course there is still snow.....if you want it :)

Monday, 27 March 2017


The summit ridge of Sgurr a' Mhaoraich

Loch Hourn from Sgurr a' Mhaoraich summit

Sgurr a' Mhaoraich

South Cluanie (Glen Shiel) Ridge to Ben Nevis views

Am Bathaich

Ian enjoying the summit of Sgurr a' Mhaoraich

Early evening light on Am Bathaich

The locals out number the visitors here abouts

Ben Nevis crystal clear

More summit views

Loch Quoich and Knoydart

Sgurr a' Mhaoraich from Am Bathaich
The temperatures rose again today in The Highlands. With another forecast of wall to wall blue skies, no wind and hot sun it was off to the fabulous North West Highlands for Ian and I. Ian is slowly nudging toward completing his Munros, only one on his hit list today, but oh what a stunning one. Sgurr a' Mhaoraich lies to the North of Loch Quoich on the twisting, single track road that runs to that wonderful land that is Knoydart. Before you get to that remotest of areas there is a wealth of stunningly beautiful mountains with long ridges and grand views. Sgurr a' Mhaoraich is a Munro summit standing in isolation. It was non stop photography along this most scenic of roads even before we got parked up.The Red Deer population out number humans in these parts, they love just hanging about the road side and posing. Eventually we got walking, the height soon gained via the excellent stalkers path running up to the ridge line. There is still snow in the north corries and a few patches on the crest but by the time we reached these it had all softened in the sizzling sun. We lingered on the summit with clear views of Ben Nevis, Knoydart and Glen Shiel Munros to name but a few. The afternoon lazily wore on as a steep descent and re ascent up to Am Bathaich, a lower hill to complete a horseshoe ridge walk. It was still t-shirts weather even at 6pm. Another photography encounter on the roadside with the deer again to end a brilliant day.

Sunday, 26 March 2017


Leo & Sophie, Alpine snow up by the Fiacaill Buttress

Approaching the Fiacaill of Sneachda

Hot in the corrie!

Summer rock!

Fiacaill Buttress, Coire an t-Sneachda

Fiacaill of Coire Snehda

Cooling off in the Snowholes

More Fiacaill Fun

Descending The Goat Track

Cairngorm plateau, Coire Domhain

Goat Track

Summer down at Loch Avon

T shirt weather on the tops

The Fiacaill Ridge to ourselves again
Afternoon heat in Sneachda
Another cracking Alpine day again in The Cairngorms. The overnight, cold temperatures snow had frozen up the snow in the Northern Corries. It was wall to wall sun and no wind. Final winter course this season for Tarmachan Mountaineering and what a way to finish!  Sophie joined Leo and I today and we had a fabulous time and a good journey on snow and rock. We headed into a quiet Coire an t-Sneachda. Donned the crampons and made our way out of the corrie and onto the Fiacaill of Coire Sneachda ridge. Here we were on dry rock and scrambling in the hot sun! Just wonderful. On the plateau and the temperatures rose in the reflective sun. W had a wander over to the Loch Avon area before heading back across the plateau and descending The Goat Track. It's steep and frozen high up so great for a final finale on crampons. Absolutely brilliant couple of days. Thanks to Leo and Sophie for a cracking couple of days. Maybe winter hasn't quite finished!

Saturday, 25 March 2017


Leo all smiles, Coire an Lochain

Below The Vent
The Couloir

How long will the ice last?

The Great Slab, Coire an Lochain

In the sun, Alpine

Leo taking the lead

Hot on Cairn Lochan

Coire an Lochain, deserted again

Alpine style

Step cutting, Coire an Lochain
Wow, what a day! Temperatures were up and the snow was frozen hard, The Alps had moved to The Cairngorms. Leo had originally booked a two day course with me way back in mid December last year. There was not a single patch of snow during that period. The only course of the entire winter season I had to cancel because of lack of snow. So he resceduled it to this weekend. Well I think his wait for better conditions had well and truly paid off! We set off in warmth and headed into a deserted Coire an Lochain. We had the whole place to ourselves, bar two folk climbing well in front of us. Where were all the outdoor folk on a day like today! The snow was absolutely perfect for some cramponing technique. We worked our way up the corrie beside The Great Slab. The Couloir looked like a good bet today with no cornice problems just now, a good choice if you're thinking of climbing anything over this warm period. Leo was smiling all day and couldn't believe his luck at the Alpine conditions we had. We went up, across and down the corrie, then across the large shelf and traversed out  to gain the plateau, finally hitting the heat of the sun! What a heat! It felt like summer on the tops. Brilliant day and more tomorrow. Can't wait!