Tuesday, 29 May 2018


Loch Avon above Stag Rocks
Nice skies above the Ficaill
Trailing Azelia
Anther beautiful day
Moss Campion
Nice cloud formations this morning
Ptarmigan, of course
Carn Etchacan
Cloud Berry
Who needs the Med with  beach like this?
The heat, blue skies and glorious sunshine continues. The temperatures were slightly lower today in The Cairngorms. Far more pleasant. The Highlands the place to be this week. No thunerstorms, yet. The Cairngorms really are looking like summer now. Much greener with lots of beautiful flora coming into bloom in the last few days. A grand day to be out. One more day like this before a change in conditions on Thursday. Enjoy!

Monday, 28 May 2018


Spidean a' Choire Leith, Liathach
A long weekend up to the Torridon was perfect timing for some of the hottest weather so far this year. We're experiencing a very hot spell of weather. Clear skies from dawn to dusk. Temperature in the mid to late teens. Quite remarkable. Karen and I , along with our friends Elisabeth and Gerry had a fabulous time based on the shores of Loch Maree. Idylic!
Friday evening swim in Loch Maree
The local deer in the garden
Torridon is just a stones throw from Loch Maree. A must visit area for anyone who hasn't climbed any of the hills here. Torridon ranks has the finest mountain range on Earth. The 'famous trio' of Beinn Alligin, Liathach and Beinn Eighe stand towering above the most beautiful glen in Scotland. We chose a traverse of Liathach for our day out on the hill.
The ridge begins!
A traverse of Liathach's ridge is one of the finest days out in Scotland, after An Teallach of course. The carpark in the glen was mobbed when we arrived. I don't think I have ever seen so many folk on this hill. We took it easy in the heat and made a steady walk up to the ridge. There was a nice breeze to stop you getting too hot and this kept the midgies away too!
Spidean a' Choire Leith
After two minor summits on essy an easy walking ridge you come to Liathach's first Munro summit, Spidean a' Choire Leith. Fablous views and all the 'crowds'had now passed us. From here to the finish we saw no one else. We had the travers of the pinnacles to ourselves!
Mullach an Rathain

The fun begins
The traverse of Liathach's 7km ridge line involves some scrambling over a pinnacled middle section, Am Fasarinen. A sensational roller coaster of grade 2 scrambling if taken direct. There is an easier traverse that avoids any hands on rock but this path is badly eroded and I wouldn't recommend it. Anyway you miss all the fun up top! We had a brilliant late afternoon on the pinnacles, enjoying the sun, views and solitude.

Me for a change!

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Fun, fun, fun
All too soon the fun is over! Then a final 30 minutes stroll up to the 2nd Munro summit, Mullach an Rathain. The views out West over Loch Torridon from here are just magical and a fitting end to a wonderful ridge. Just a small matter of getting down. A steep descent into the coire of the Toll Ban. What a stunner of a day. Liathach always delivers.
Am Fasarinen
Coire na Caime
Loch Torridon
After our big day on Saturday it was a leisurely Sunday. Time for a cool boat trip out from Gairloch.

Seal and pup
Back on land and dinning 'alfresco. beside the west coast was just surreal. Still hot at 8pm! Still no midgies!

Ringed Plover
Deserted evening beaches

Seaside starfish
Sea Thrift
Our final day, a short one before heading home. If you're looking for an easy day in Torridon with stunning views then you can't go wrong with a walk up Coire Dubh Mor. This coire lies between Liathach and Beinn Eighe. A lovely remote lochan for thos to cool off.
Coire Dubh Mor path

Spot the swimmer
Fabulous 3 days. Shame to see so many wild fires in the area on Sunday and Monday. Take care out there folks. The ground is tinder dry and we still have a very high wild fire risk across the Highlands.
The Heatwave continues!

Friday, 25 May 2018


Bettin on Cairn Gorm

Cairngorm plateau in heat

Reindeer cooling off again, snow shrinking guys
Macdui summit

Cloud dispersing

Braeriach-Cairn Toul plateau

Heatwave intensifying day by day here in The Highlands. There was some cloud in the morning but the heat burned this off with some lovely cloud formations and bright, clear skies. James Orpwood was out guiding Bettina for me today. Bettina was looking for a nice walk up on The Cairngorms. They went across the plateau to Macdui and then returned via the lip of the Loch Avon basin. Still with lots of energy, Bettina then bagged Cairn Gorm. Looked like a great day out. Thanks to James for today and all photos courtesy of James Orpwood.

Thursday, 24 May 2018


The Dotterel has landed
A glorious day of wall to wall blue skies and warm sun here in The Cairngorms. Highland heatwave day 2.  If you've booked a weeks holiday up here this week then you've certainly hit the jackpot. This big high pressure sitting over us is going nowhere fast. More days of warm sun and blue skies pretty much across the whole of the Scottish Highlands.
Remaining snow in the Goat Track, Coire an t-Sneachda
T-shirt conditions all day in the Northern Cairngorms. A lovely light breeze to stop you getting too hot! 
Living up here in Aviemore is a very special spot. Where else can you fit in half a days outing and manage to walk amongst big corries, scramble along a delightful ridge, photograph some of the UK's rarest bird and mammals and bag a Munro. Oh yes, even found time to have a peaceful lie down on dry grass. A lovely spot, so peaceful except a wee trickling stream, the croak of a ptarmigan and the beautiful song of the snow bunting.
Female ptarmigan
Male ptarmigan
Heading off the main Sneachda path and onto pathless terrain there were plenty of ptarmigan about. In the background was the beautiful song of a snow bunting. I reckon this wee guy is the one that's been calling away for the last few days. He was fluttering about between the cliffs of  Sneachda and onto the crest of the Fiacaill Ridge.  I sat high up in the coire for over 20 minutes beside a pair of delightful ptarmigan, totally unaware of my presence.
Fiacaill Buttress, spot the ptarmigan, he's there
Marsh Marigold
A deserted Fiacaill Coire Sneachda
Fiacaill Ridge skyline
Up on the plateau there was a stiff breeze which was nice, still warm coming from a southerly direction. I evaded the crowds again and disappeared onto pathless terrain. It was so warm today the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd were cooling off on one of the many snow patches.
Reindeer on snow
Too hot for some
One of the rarest of  birds to visit the UK are The Dotterel. Amazing wee plover that migrates from West Africa in Spring, a ground nesting bird and another hardy character that stays up high on these mountains. The Cairngorms one of the best areas to see them altough they do nest in other parts of Scotland.  I've seen them on the plateau in all kinds of weather. Heavy rain, high winds, thick cloud. To see them in glorious sunshine is a treat. They 'go home' late summer so look out for them while you can.
Male Dotterel
A beautiful bird too. The male is the showier (as always in the animal world!). Unique in that the male looks after the youngsters.
Back on the path and down in sizzling heat, home for mid afternoon. Not a bad few hours out.
I think the NW Highlands are beckoning again!

Male patrmigan