|Adult Male Snow Bunting with a feed|
Here's a catch up on stuff from this weekend.
FRIDAY 17 JULY
My old friend for well over 20 years, Paul Milligan, was up in the Cairngorms and we had a great day out. Now the restrictions have lifted it is perfectly fine to meet up with friends, keeping social distancing of course. I've known Paul from my early days of guiding when he ran his own small guiding company, Lomond Walking Holidays. I guided lots of fun trips with him and met lots of great folk when we would guide all over the Highlands including one of the first companies to run the Cape Wrath Trail. Back in the the late '90's this long distance trail was hardly known. I guided 3 of these and brilliant fun. Plenty of Munro guiding, Scottish Coast to Coast treks and even West Highland Way 'strolls'. We also had some great adventures out of the UK. Trips to Mexico climbing Volcanoes, winter mountain trips in unknown places of the Pyrenees and even lesser known, smaller hills of the Alps. Today we had a wander in The Cairngorms for the day.
|Paul and I in the snow tunnel|
|Pathless and wild|
|Paul enjoying the scrambling|
|Near the top|
|The finest view|
|This ain't bad either|
After taking in the glorious vistas we went down into the Coire and explored the huge snowpatch on the Feithe Buidhe slabs. I was down in this area less than a week ago. There was no real opening to explore inside the snow patch. Today we found a big enough slot between the slabs and snow to have a wander around. We could stand up and walk quite easily for about 30 metres. Excellent.
|Feithe Buidhe snow patch|
|Easy way in|
Still no big opening and tunnels at the bottom of the snow patch. We had a wander to the Garbh Uisge Mor waterfall for afternoon tea. A spot I could sit around at for an hour, easily. Lovely and warm out of the breeze here. Time was not of an issue, not this time of year with usable daylight up to at least 10.30pm.
|Back on top|
|Garbh Uisge snow patch|
On our way back across the pathless plateau we stopped and spotted the best wildlife of the day. Two male Snow Bunting ( plus possible adult female seemed to be about) and a wonderful wee fledgling who still had a lot of its soft, fluffy down coat. The adult males were busying about finding insects and flies to feed up the youngster. Brilliant stuff.
|Newly fledged Snow Bunting waiting for his feed|
|A good meal|
It was a beautiful sunny end to the day as we strolled back down to Coire Cas carpark, finishing after 7pm. 30 minutes before we got to the carpark we bumped into a couple of guys with enormous rucksacks and carrying cans of beer. They were off camping near Corrour Bothy. That's a fair few hours over Ben Macdui with big packs. Oh well. Nice night for it!
|This snow tunnel not quite as high|
|Evening light in Coire an Lochain|
|Someone going lightweight to the plateau|
|Fine evening back to civilisation|
After a farewell with Paul I had great blast down on the bike in glorious evening sun, whilst Paul drove down in his open top BMW!
SATURDAY 18 JULY
|Golden Plover with a Loch Alvie for a backdrop|
Another fine day to be out on the hills. The big Cairngorm Mountains were forecast to be cloudy with some heavy showers plus strong winds. I decided to go up on the Monadhliath, lower and on this side of the A9 the weather was quite different. A mostly sunny day. A few short, sharp rain showers.
|Bell Heather in full bloom|
|Round leaves Sundew|
|Mountain Hare enjoying the sun|
|Golden Plover with a beautiful green fields backdrop|
|Idylic Golden Plover in summer terrain|
|Late afternoon light over the Northern Cairngorms|
The Mountain Hare the stars of the show again. Some lovely light on them in the afternoon sunshine. Lovely bike ride home.
|Mountain Hare on high moorland|
SUNDAY 19 JULY
The weekend nice weather brought lots of folk up visiting the Highlands again. Finding somewhere quiet to walk or explore isn't too difficult up here in the Cairngorms National Park. Plenty of unfrequented trails. Or to guarantee solitude then plenty of pathless walking in remote places. Or just drive around taking in the scenery. A bit of both this morning.
|Sunshine & showers over Lochindorb|
|Dava Way solitude|
|Red Grouse, Dava Moor|
|Greylagg Geese descending on Lochindorb|
|Spear Thistle just into flower|