Tuesday, 10 March 2020


Where's the Hares?
Day 3 for Jenny & Iain on their winter course this week. After two days on the high Cairngorms we opted for a lower level hill day. Combining navigation with some wildlife watching and photography.

Map and compass 
We headed for the Monadhliath hills on the West side of Strathspey. The hills here are quite featureless and rounded in nature. Ideal for honing your navigation skills. We also chose this area being a fair bit lower than the high Cairngorms. The weather forecast up high was for gales today. We mad a wise choice, we had only 30-40mph winds on the area we went to.
Mountain Hare going into Spring pelage
Jenny in particular was keen to see some wildlife this week. We had already seen ptarmigan and snow bunting on previous days, albeit from a distance and in windier conditions. So it was great to quickly get to observe the beautiful Mountain Hare, another speciality of the Cairngorms. We spent over 30 minutes in the company of one individual hare who was just starting to change into his Spring pelage. Looking very handsome.

We eventually teared our way from our lovely guy and moved onto Navigation. Perfectly timed as a heavy snow shower moved in. It was more breezy above 800m, good testing conditions. The day had started quite mild but by late morning the temperatures had lowered and any precipitation soon turned to snow.

Clouding over

Featureless terrain
After a few legs of navigation including contouring around the hillsides we came out into afternoon sunshine. Another opportunity to see some more of the Mountain Hares. This time we were surrounded by about 10 completely white hares running all over the area.
Showing off

On watch

A lovely sunny end to the day. Great to see so many hares. I reckon we were outnumbered by about 20:1 today. Not a single other walker out on the hills in our location. It was lovely to also spot 3 Golden Plover too. Although they were quite flighty so no decent photos.
Lovely in the sun

Snow shower

What do you think?

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