Monday, 29 October 2012


The ladies on Macdui with lots of rime ice
Who needs Benidorm with beaches like this?
Loch Avon & Shelter Stone Crag after fresh snow
Beinn Mheadoin & Loch Avon
Rosa, Clare and Angharad were out with me today, looking for a nice hill walk in The Cairngorms. The weather forecast looked promising with sunny spells and virtually dry. The reality was it was almost constant snow showers from the word go. But the bonus was it became the first 'proper' winter day this season, very apt since yesterday was the last day of summer! We headed up to Ben Macdui and shortly after getting up to the plateau area we saw no one else for the rest of the day. The cloud was below 700m this morning, giving poor visibility but fantastic to be out in great winter conditions. A mix of fresh snow on old snow, rime ice, refrozen snow and neve. Pretty chilly and a high windchill on the summit with a stiff breeze. We then headed down to the beautiful Loch Etchacan were we managed a view. After lunch it was down again to Loch Avon, this route is one of the finest walks in the Cairngorms and much, much nicer than just across the plateau and back to 'bag' Macdui. Just as we thought the views had completely deserted us, the cloud lifted, the snow stopped snowing and we had blue skies! An hour of fab views from Loch Avon all the way high  up  Coire Raibert. Finished at dusk with a glimmer of a sunset and then a rising full moon. Welcome back to winter!

Saturday, 27 October 2012


It was -5 degrees C on the summit of Cairn Gorm this morning and with a dusting of fresh snow at Aviemore. A pleasant chill in the air at Loch Morlich with hardly a breeze. Plenty of fresh snow on the mountains and the crags looking white too. Winter's come early :) . February bookings are coming in at a steady trickle and I have bookings for beginning of December. February always a busy time so don't leave it too late for that winter course!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


It felt like we were in for another fabulous blue skies day above a temperature inversion in Strath Spey but there was another layer of high level cloud blocking out the sun. Still it was a nice dry, still day up on the hills. Karen and I headed over the Northern Corries and down to the Feith Buidhe for our lunch spot. At least here we got some fab views down to Loch Avon. Turning colder and still the forecast is for snow on Friday, at least in The Cairngorms.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


The Cairngorms from Meall a Buachaille
Loch Morlich from the summit
Ryvoan Bothy and Abernethy Forest
Beautiful Lochan Uaine
The north of Scotland was once again blessed in beautiful Autumn sunshine again today. Anyone who has been up these parts on holiday this week will be smug and grinning up the hills. There was a wee bit of cloud on the highest summits in The Cairngorms today but the sun broke through by mid morning and it was beautifully warm with only a slight breeze on the tops. I headed out at lunchtime on the bike up Glen More to Loch Morlich but the sun and warmth drove me(peddled me) further so I carried on up to Ryvoan Bothy and then had a quick blast up Meall a Buachaille, getting onto the summit in 15 minutes from Ryvoan. The Autumn colours are just superb at the moment and a fine time for photography. Another couple of warm and sunny days to come before this cold blast from the north, will it bring a good covering of snow?

Monday, 22 October 2012


Looking back along the Fiacaill Coire Sneachda
Fiacaill Coire Sneachda
Loch Avon, Beinn Meadhoin & Shelter Stone from Feithe Buidhe
Not long till winter mate
Northern Corries
The high pressure over Scotland gave another fabulous sunny day. There was a light, cold easterly breeze but in the sun it was lovely and warm. I took a trip up the Fiacaill Coire Sneachda, a nice wee scramble onto the Cairngorm plateau. Any remaining snow patches were actually neve in places but the crest of the ridge was free of any snow. I then headed down to the Feith Buidhe across the plateau for the stupendous view down into the Loch Avon basin. This is one of the most spectacular and beautiful view points in The Cairngorms, only a short detour off the main route up Beinn Macdui yet I would guess only a few of the folk heading onto the second highest point in the UK actually take the time to wander off for the views. I sat in the warm sun for a while and a great clarity of air for photos. The last 200m or so of Benn Macdui now has a good covering of snow and the many pairs of ptarmigan I saw today were starting to get into their winter plumage. Looks like the NW Highlands is the place to be for blue skies and bright sun next couple of days.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


A beautiful Autumn day in the Cairngorms. The SW breeze and clear skies made if feel much warmer than recently and it was lovely to feel the warmth of the sun, even down to base layers lower down the hill. Karen and I had a day out on Bynack Mor, a hill I'd not been on for 3 years or so and with the recent footpath work completed high up on the hill it made it feel very easy strolling up to the ridge. Great views all round and snow still on the higher Cairngorm summits and Beinn Avon looking wintry too. We had went down to the Barns of Bynack which are enormous Granite Tors which can't be seen from the summit but only a 10 minute stroll down on the south side of the hill, very impressive. A few more glorious days to come over much of the Highlands. Enjoy!

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Cousin team Dave & Robin were out with me today on their first ever mountain, Ben Nevis. It was a mostly cloudy day with just the odd glimpse of sun and below freezing on the summit. There is still lying snow from the top of the zig zags to the summit and there are still some folk who seem to think it's summer, dressed in shorts and trainers. The guys were up and down in 7 hours which is a great time considering their first time on a mountain and with enormous rucksack's! There as been snow lying on the higher tops for the last couple of weeks, is this a good omen for another fantastic winter? The long term forecasters seem to think so but I'll wait and see! The East seemed to have got the best of the sunny weather today.

Sunday, 14 October 2012



 After a couple of very wet days in The Highlands it was nice to get a dry and bright day again. The weather window came in perfectly for Mark and Malc on their guided day on Ben Nevis. They wanted a day of scrambling and some navigation/route finding training. Over the last week or so it has been quite cold on the tops and snow showers falling above 1000m so we took the winter hardware 'just in case'. There was a good coating of snow on the upper section of Tower Ridge and some of the gullies are filling up but Ledge Route was clear of snow/ice.  We had a quick rest at the CIC hut, then shortly after the sun broke through the clouds. The Autumn colours in The Allt a' Mhuillin are wonderful just now and the was a solitary stag below Carn Dearg Buttress roaring away as we headed up to Ledge Route. We saw no one all the way up and as we got onto the ridge section the sun was out and blue skies over head. There was just a few bits of soft snow on the final 50m but the ironmongery wasn't required but lugging it all up is good fitness training as the winter approaches. The plateau has a good few cm's of snow from the top of the zig zags and the path well trodden so becoming icy, as the trainer clad folk were finding out today. The guys did a great time on the day, up and down in 8 hours which included some map skills as we made our  journey across the plateau. Winter is on it's way folks :) 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


The summit of Braeriach looking across the Lairig Ghru to Ben Macdui
Fab summit views
Cairn Toul & Lairig Ghru
Sgor Gaoith & Loch Einich

What an absolutely stunning day in The Cairngorms with blue skies and light winds along with those gorgeous Autumn colours. Karen and I had a great day out traversing the fabulous Braeriach, staring at Whitewell and the long walk up Glen Einich to Loch Einich. From here the views are superb, looking across to Sgor Gaoith and and Loch Einich. There is then a wonderful stalkers path up onto the plateau where snow is still lying from last weeks snowfalls. The views were superb from the summit and very clear. After tearing ourselves away we strolled down to the Lairig Ghru and back to Whitewell just as the stags were roaring away in the Caledonian Pines at dusk. A perfect day.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


It was a glorious sunny day and lots of folk out enjoying the Autumn sunshine in The Cairngorms. I had a nice short, easy scramble up on the Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda.  This fine ridge in the Northern Corries splits the two main winter corries of Coire an t-Sneacda and Coire an Lochan. There wasn't much wind today so feeling very pleasant in the sun. The temperatures had dropped well below freezing overnight which left some rime and verglas on the rocks but all of this was quite easy to avoid. The afternoon was beautiful and a good time for some good Autumn photography.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Loch Etchacan
Stag Rocks and Loch Avon
Shelter Stone Crag
Ben MacDui summit
With a good day forecasted Karen and I had a nice walk in The Cairngorms, taking in Ben Macdui and Cairngorm. It was another sub zero day above 1200m and snow still lying above 1100m on Ben MacDui with rime ice around. A stiff breeze today made it feel quite winter like on the tops. We had some good sunny spells today and the next few days look like being more in the way of blue skies and sunshine.