Thursday, 27 February 2020


The best views of An Teallach today
That beautiful image of An Teallach's Sgor Fiona & Corrag Buidhe seen from Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill is one of the finest panoramas in the Scottish mountains. The best time of day is dawn, like most landscape photography. Raphael was keen to come out with me to hopefully capture this stunning image. Raphael came on a 1 day winter course last year and was keen to combine another winter guided day with some landscape photography.
The snowy drive over to Dundonnell 
I met up with Raphael on Wednesday afternoon in Ullapool. He lives in North Uist so a long journey over. We had already shelved this da way back at the beginning of February. One of those many named storms put pay to any day of photography back then. Rescheduled to end of February and I was free for 3 days so we had a choice for the best possible weather day.
Snow to sea level
We looked at weather sites all the way up to the final evening before setting off. Unfortunately the reasonable forecast for Thursday had changed somewhat. With the NW airflow the North West Highlands were in for the snowiest, least clear sky conditions. There was just a small period of 1 in 3 chance of some brightness by late morning. We decided to give it a try and set off for Dundonnell to camp overnight on Wednesday. There was fresh snowfall down to around 100m and by the time we arrived at Little Loch Broom it had lowered to sea level.
Shin to knee deep fresh snow

After a breezy and snowy night under canvas we set off early morning.  If it was to be any chance of a good sunrise then our plan was for an Alpine 3am start. As it was unlikely we set off at a more normal 8am. From the word go it was hard work trail breaking in soft snow. Some big drifts above 200m making progress very slow and tiring. On top of this we had limited views and constant snow showers throughout the morning, some of these were bouts of graupal.
The North side of Ghlas Meall Mor looking icy
It took us double normal time to wade up to around 850m beside the Allt a' Mhuillin. We made a decision to bin the day. Probably the deciding factor was whiteout conditions at this point and a strong wind. An Teallach would have to wait another day.
We turned tail and headed back to Dundonnell. Of course we just reached the road when some sunshine came through a break in the cloud. Were we cheated? Driving back over the Destitution road we saw we were not! The grand view of An Teallach from the high point of the Braemore to Gairloch road was absent. We sighed a relief. Nothing worse than conditions improving after binning a day.
Our scenic highpoint

The Destitution road and An Teallach 

The Western Fannaichs

An Teallach will always be there, as they say. With these snowy, cold conditions continuing well into March then we still have plenty of opportunity for a winter sunrise. Watch this space.

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