Tuesday, 23 May 2017


Morning sun on the Fiacaill

Fiacaill Coire Sneachda

Greenland Wheatear

Hide & seek with these guys today

You know who

Sun in Strathspey

The Great Slab, Coire an Lochain

Fiacaill in Profile

Coire an Lochain
Feeding time
The sun returned to The Cairngorms today, a beautiful morning but chilly on the tops. The temperatures are set to rise by the weekend with high twenties forecast in the glens. Nice and quiet in the Northern Corries and up on the Fiacaill Coire Sneachda today. Plenty of bird life about.

Saturday, 20 May 2017


The Three sisters enjoying the Ben Nevis snows

Bit wintry on the summit

We did it!

Smiling through the snow

Atmospheric cloud and wet on the way up
Glen Nevis before

....and after

Plenty of scraps for the Snow Buntings

Seen it all before

New Bridge over the Nevis, shorter distance  to the summit now

Approaching the top
It wasn't too long ago when we were basking in sunshine on the summits with  cloudless skies and fabulous views. Unfortunately today on Ben Nevis we had low cloud, poor visibility, constant rain and above 1100m it was snowing. Still, I had three very enthusiastic ladies, all sisters, who relished the conditions and found the trek up to the summit a wonderful experiece. Down in Glen Nevis it was relitively mild, a very different story higher up where the temperatures were around freezing point. It is always a long day whichever route yo take to the UK's higest mountain. The Mountain Path was a challenge enough in these coditions but a good set of waterproofs and warm clothes make the walk up a much safer and pleasurable one. There were many folk up there today who were taking the 'minimilist' and 'lightweight' approach, 'Pack a Mac', no rucksacks, trainers, etc seemed to be the norm, or maybe it's just been a while since I've guided on the Mountain Path side and I have forgotten 'how it is'? Charlotte and her sisters did a brilliant job and were still smiling all the way down to the Ben Nevis Inn. If you're starting from the Glen Nevis visitor Centre it is now a shorter distance to th summit as the brand new bridge over the River Nevis chops off a couple of hundred metres n distance :) . Today I was working for Walkabout Scotland.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


Black Grouse

Biking by the moonlight

Beinn Mheadhoin, Ben Macdui & Cairn Gorm

The Barns of Bynack

Kalmia procumben (Trailing Azalia) just in flower

Female ptarmigan

Male ptarmigan
Glorious morning 

Summit views
The Cairngorm National Park has some of the most unique, wonderful and rare wildlife. The Black Grouse may not be unique to the Cairngorm area but it is one of the best places to see these amazing birds. The sound and display when the male grouse is at the Lek is something quite extraordinary. To see them in their display you need to get there at daybreak, or before. With it being the middle of May we now have long daylight hours so I to drag myself out of bed at 2am this morning to get a chance of seeing these guys in action. It was a beautiful bike ride from the house with a half moon and clear skies. As soon as I got to the area I could here their very unusual sounds, nothing quite like it, I was in luck! Just has the sun rose over the heather moors it flooded the Lek area with beautiful light and the Black Grouse landed on cue! Brilliant.  After the action was over the day was still young! I headed up Bynack Mor in early morning crisp sunshine. Great views over to the Northern Cairngorms from the summit. The Black Grouse's cousins, the patarmigan, were not to be outshone, they were in abundance on the summit area. The finest feature of this Munro is 'The Barns of Bynack' which lie away from the summit cairn. These enormous granite tors always seem to look different every time I visit. Different light, seasons and weather! Just to the SW from Bynack Mor lies a 'demoted' Munro, A' Coinneach. What a shame most people don't include this in the days walk, it's a fantastic viewpoint  with Loch Avon, Beinn Meadhoin, Ben Macdui and Cairn Gorm in full panoramic view. Top day out and worth the early rise!

Sunday, 14 May 2017


The start of Angels Ridge

Swimming in Lochain Uaine

Lochain Uaine from Angels Ridge

Late afternoon, Garbh Choire

Beautifu light on Sgor an Lochain Uaine

Cumulus clouds over Garbh Coire

Braeriach from the ridge

Spot the swimmer, Lochain Uaine

Glorious evening light, Cairn Toul & Sgor an Lochain Uaine

Snow areas in Garbh Coire

Ben Macdui from Garbh Coire

Lairig Ghru

Looking up Angels Ridge

High on Angels Ridge

Cairn Toul

Ben Macdui & Lochain Uaine

The Lairig Ghru
Wonderful remote scrambling
Angels Ridge is a wonderfully remote, wild and scenic scramble in the Cairngorms. It begins just above one of the remotest, highest and wildest lochans in the British Isles, Lochain Uaine. To swim in the lochan and scramble on Sgor an Lochain Uaine is a  great day of adventure for the connoisseur of wild places. A big day out, made slightly easier by biking from Aviemore to the Lairig Ghru. The weather just got better and better has the day wore on. We had about 3 showers that lasted just 2 minutes. The rest of the day we basked in sunshine. The skies were fabulous with beautiful cumulus cloud and superb visibility in the cooler air. To swim in the lochan has been on Karen's wish list for some time. It's worth waiting for a nice day to appreciate the surroundings. After the dip we savoured the afternoon light on the ridge which is now completely clear of snow. Angels Ridge finishes right at the summit cairn of the Munro, Sgor an Lochain Uaine. We had a wonderful late afternoon stroll across the plateau to Braeriach. Has we headed back down to the Lairig Ghru the light got even better! The final stretch back to the bikes through the pine trees was just magical. We headed into the dieing embers of the sunset as we biked home finished a memorable day, the best day I have had on Angels Ridge that's for sure.

Friday, 12 May 2017


Fiacaill of Coire Sneachda under a hot sun

Female Dotterel

Hot and breezy along the Fiacaill

Male ptarmigan

Coire an Lochain

Willow Warbler

Reindeer enjoying the sun

Fiacaill ridge & Goat track area

Meadow Pipit


Cairn Lochan

Coire Domhain snow
The big continental high pressure system we've enjoyed has been replaced with more unsettled conditions but today in The Caingorms we had another lovely hot and sunny day. There was a stiff breeze blowing higher up. It wasn't too windy to cruise along the Fiacaill of Coire Sneachda though. A nice way to get onto The Cairngorm plateau and some wildlife watching. The Dotterel are one of the many wonderful birds you see up high in these mountains. From about May to August they arrive on our shores to breed. They winter over in North Africa and the Middle East. Like all ground nesting birds they are sensitive to disturbance. I spotted 6 of these guys in one of the windiest spots today! But they seemed quite happy contending with the breeze, unlike my camera which struggled in the winds! All my images are taken with a large telephoto lens from a safe distance and cropped. I spotted 6 dogs roaming and running around off their owners leads today. Loads of  birds and wildlife seen this afternoon, an absolute joy this time of year.
The snow patches in the corries and on the plateau are diminishing but Coire Domhain surprisingly still holding out and you can still see the snow hole entrances. There is no way near the snow cover as we had this time last year. It will be interesting to see what is left by August.