Friday, 30 November 2018


Coire an Lochain

Coire an Lochain

Coire an t-Sneachda

Cairn Gorm and Coire Cas
It's been a generally warm week from Tuesday through to yesterday afternoon. The warm spell stripped all the snow off the Scottish mountains. As always, the Cairngorms and many other mountains can quickly come back into winter condition as fast as they strip. This morning it was much colder with plenty of snow showers down to 800m. There has also been 100mph + winds on the tops the last couple of days. This afternoon the clouds cleared for a moment or two to get a few shots whilst Karen had a dip in Loch Morlich.
My winter season starts proper from tomorrow. Perfect timing with this cold spell due to last a few days at least and calmer winds. All good.
I still have a few places on group winter skills if you are interested. Check out my website and drop me a line. Prices start at £75 per day for quality tuition worth a local company that knows these mountains extremely well and 30 years experience of Scottish winters.
Loch Morlich 

Sunday, 25 November 2018


IML's and ropes

Steep ground 

Italian Hitch 

Out of remit?

Discussion time



Day two of the annual BAIML AGM and CPD workshops. Today we were outdoors and into the Peak District at Whinlatter, near Castleton. Today was mostly security on steep ground and rope work. Some slippy,  slimy limestone ground,  damp and greasy. Ideal then. In the afternoon we had a few 1st aid scenarios before heading back.
Good to meet lots of fellow International Mountain Leader's and two more CPD days, vital for keeping skills up to date as a leader.

Saturday, 24 November 2018


James & Charlotte enjoying the snow

Coire an Lochain looking good

Ben Macdui

Fiacaill Buttress 

Good snow cover

Meanwhile, in the classroom

High altitude medicine

In the PAC 

Bed time reading 

No thanks!
James Orpwood was out guiding for me today on Ben Macdui. He was out with Charlotte & James who gained their first taste of a Scottish Winter Munro. They certainly got a good winter experience on Ben Macdui. Looked  good testing navigation in the Cairngorms. Full winter conditions, without the high winds which is always welcome.
Meantime I was in the cosy confines of a nice hotel conference room all day. First day of my CPD weekend on the annual BAIML AGM weekend. Saturdays session was a workshop on High Altitude Medicine. Run by Dr. Jon Dallimore, highly experienced doctor and mountaineer and fellow IML. Brilliant day and lots of vital information on guiding and looking after groups on high altitude mountains.
Thanks to James for his guiding today.

Thursday, 22 November 2018


Fiacaill a Coire an t-Sneachda 

Good snow covering

Coire an t-Sneachda 

Visibility at 850m

Over 60cm of depth on West aspects 

Quiet ridge 

Great fun, any weather 

Cornices forming 

Visibility at 1100m

Coire Cas
Ptarmigan aplenty


Whiter by the day

Showing off
Over the last few days we've had lower daytime temperatures from a Easterly blowing across the Cairngorms. It's been raining in The Strath for best part of 48 hours, snowing up on the hills. Today I took a wander into Coire an t-Sneachda and up over the Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda. All soft snow into the coire with the snow line around 700m. Visibility poor most of the day. Light winds. On Western aspects there is a fair depth of snow, up to 60cm in places.  This from the strong Easterlies and constant snowfall no doubt. It doesn't matter what the weather is, the Fiacaill is always great entertainment and never dull with limited views. Up on the plateau the visibility was even worse but plenty of rocks poking through the snow pack.  Plenty of Ptarmigan today and only saw one guy all day.
Forecast staying same kind of conditions for rest of the week and into the weekend.
Winter returns, no Autumn colours and bright sun like last weekend.

Sunday, 18 November 2018


Aonach Eagach from Stob Coire Nan Lochan
A fabulous clear skies weekend almost everywhere in The Highlands. Wall to wall sunshine and slightly cooler temperature in the evening. Perfect timing for our weekend away in the west and some Munro bagging around Glencoe.
Stob Dubh & Bidean nam Bian
On Saturday we had a lovely walk up the two Munros of Stob Coire Raineach & Stob Dubh which make up the main summits of the Buachaille Etive Beag ridge. One of the easiest and shortest ridge walks in the Glencoe area. Quite a few folk out on the hills enjoying the sublime conditions. Not a scrap of snow around.

Glen Etive from Stob Dubh
Aonach Eagach and Ben Nevis from Stob Dubh

Buachaille Etive Mor from Buachaille Etive Beag
Rannoch Moor and Buachaille Etive Beag
On Sunday we had another fabulous day over on the Bidean nam Bian ridge. The two Munros of Stob Coire nan Sgreamhach and Bidean itself make for a wonderful day of ridges and corries. Another busy day with plenty of folk out. It had been a tad colder overnight and there was a splattering of verglas and ice high up.

Beinn Fhada ridge from the summit of Sgreamhach
We're not used to busy mountains!
There are many routes to tackle these two mountains. We set off up the Coire Gabhail or 'The Lost Valley' as some folk like to call it. Despite the wall to wall sun you are in shade for the entire glen until you pop out onto the ridge. E|ven more folk seemed to be out today, all reaching the top of Stob Coire Sgreamhach at the same time!

Bidean Nam Bian from Sgreamhach
By the time we reached the top of Bidean it seemed that everyone had been going in the opposite direction to bag the two hills. From the top we had the rest of the day to ourselves. What a treat. Beautiful late afternoon light was now in front of us. The Aonach Eagach looking stunning with the Autumn glow.

Summit Bidean

Ben Nevis from Bidean

Big Bidean Shadows
Fabulous walk over our final summit of Stob Coire an Lochan. There are grand views from this 'demoted' Munro. Golden light and a moon rising as we walked down with the last 30 minutes in torchlight. Fab.
Golden hour on Aonach Eagach
Loch Leven and Ardgour