Saturday, 29 February 2020


Sunshine and full snow cover
There hasn't been too many days this winter when we've enjoyed full snow cover, light winds and some lovely sunshine. Today was one of those rare delights.
The Boar of Badenoch
The Munros either side of the Drumochter Pass seem to get labelled from many hill goers has 'boring'. I never understand this. I think the 7 Munros in this area are wonderful in Spring time for their wealth of wildlife including Golden Plover, Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare. In winter with good snow cover they are beautiful hills and easy to walk being not particularly steep.
Good track to begin
We decided to walk up two of the Munros on the West side of the Drumochter Pass, Sgarnaich Mhor & Beinn Udelmain. You get a good head start from the top of the Drumochter Pass at over 400m in height.
The Sow of Atholl
There has been a lot of snow and wind over the last week or more and the hills in this area have a full cover of deep, unconsolidated snow. Hard work trail breaking everywhere in the Highlands at the minute. Thankfully there was a big party of 6 folk in front of us this morning doing a grand job of making the walking easier. I think I have done my fair share of trail breaking recently so I never felt I was 'cheating!'
Karen heading up Scarenaich Mhor
The early morning clouds soon had a few breaks in them and by mid morning we were treated to some fine spells of sunshine. Temperatures at the car were plus 2 C when we left. When we returned it was minus 1 C, has was forecast. With moderate to light winds it was beautiful temperatures to walk in.
Fine weather heading to Sgarenaich Mhor
Underfoot conditions improved with height and the walking became easier above 800m. The long easy slopes up to Sgarenaich Mhor were a delight.
Some sizable drifts even at 800m
With all this snow and high winds in recent weeks there are huge drifts even at lower altitudes. Some wonderful snow hole sites. The wonders of nature.
Looking East towards The Cairngorms 
Within 3 hours we were on our first Munro of Sgarenaich Mhor. There was some cloud coming over at this point and a very brief snow shower. The descent to our second objective is another very easy walk on easy angled terrain. Of course in poor weather then you need decent navigation skills in the featureless terrain that these hills provide.
The final slopes to the top
Easy descent 
The second of our Munros, Beinn Udelmain is also easy angled and quickly ascended. Some more beautiful views and sun as the clouds parted again. We had seen more than 10 Mountain Hare running up and across these high plateaux. What a wonderful sight. No big lens camera today unfortunately. So it was nice just to watch them and admire their speed.

More sun

Looking back to Sgarnaich Mhor

White out near the summit of Beinn Udelmain
The skies quickly changed again just as we approached the summit of Beinn Udelmain. This heralded the sign of a change in the weather. There was an increase in the wind and more snow showers . We quickly descended back to the glen that runs between the two hills. Unfortunately no one had been walking here recently so it was trail breaking back to the A9 and the car. By this point heavier snow showers moved in. The next named storm making its presence. Our last wonders of the day were even more Mountain  Hare and an Golden Eagle soaring above us. Fabulous.
Deep drifts on the track out

Last bit of blue sky

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