Tuesday, 25 February 2020


Showshoe heaven
 Day two on Steve & Marina's winter course with Tarmachan Mountaineering. We had a fabulous day on Sunday but today was something special. With a full cover of deep snow across much of the Highlands we decided on snowshoes for our day on Ben Macdui.
The way to go
Ready for action
There's probably only a handful of days in winter where snowshoes are a great choice. A typical Scottish mountain day will undoubtedly have varied snow conditions. Soft snow, ice, rocks, bare ground, etc. The conditions today were just perfect. Full snow cover from start to finish.
Deep snow 

 Cairn Gorm
We set off from a busy Coire Cas carpark.  Plenty of folk out walking, climbing, ski touring and snowshoeing. The drive up to the carpark was in itself a wonderful spectacle. Snow covered trees and a reflection in Loch Morlich. We could have had a lovely time just wandering around in the Pines. But Macdui beckond.

Snowy Caledonian Pines 

Burns filled in
We made excellent progress up Lurchers Ridge. Some great views and the burn crossing from Coire an Lochain is well  buried in snow. A joy. The blue skies and sun were a welcome surprise. Most forecasts stated overcast conditions.
Brilliant conditions 
Across the plateau was beautiful snow. By early afternoon the cloud was lowering and views of the Braeriach to Cairn Toul plateau were absent. Still brilliant afternoon.
Lairig Ghru

Macdui Plateau 

Fleeting glimpses of Braeriach 
We made good time onto the summit of Ben Macdui. Sadly no views but a great achievement for Marina and Steve. Steve said he wouldn't fancy walking across the plateau in rough weather. Enough said!
Ben Macdui

Atmospheric descent

Quieter on the way down
We decided to return the same route. S & M have a long journey home back to Penrith after the walk. A quick descent gave wonderful glimpses of the hills, super late afternoon light and atmospheric clouds.


Beautiful light

Coire an Lochain
Nice and quiet final hour back to the carpark. A memorable snow show day and probably the best snow cover, sunshine and light since November! It's nice to get days like this after so many wild, cloudy days this winter. We had hardly any wind. An absolute pleasure.  Eating pic nic style on the hills and savouring the views with wonderful snow underfoot. More please.
Coire an Lochain

Here's one I made earlier

Drifts at low altitudes

Late  afternoon light

On a final note. Steve and Marina had originally booked Monday and Tuesday of this week for the two days out with me. We rescheduled the Monday  to Sunday because of the high winds forecast. Tarmachan Mountaineering always tryst to be flexible around weather. Another reason on choosing a smaller company for your winter (or summer) course. 

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