Thursday, 31 January 2019


Brian & Sharon at the finest viewpoint 

Cairn Lochan, late afternoon 

Fiacaill Buttress 

Hell's Lum 

Fiacaill Coire Sneachda 

Coire an t-Sneachda 

Deep down Hell's Lum 

Coire an Lochain 

Plenty of this


Group of 11 Ptarmigan 

Afternoon delights

Brilliant walking on the plateau 
Cairn Gorm & Sneachda 

Sunset Meall a Bhuachaille 
There are fabulous days, brilliant days, stonking days and occasional perfect days! Today was one of these. Crystal clear skies,  no wind, sub zero temperatures,  wall to wall sun, great company,  lovely surprises and good snow cover nearly there. Return client Brian and his partner Sharon out for a day of mountain fun. A Birthday gift from Sharon to Brian.  What a day they chose! We had a fabulous walk on some of my finest viewpoints around the Northern Cairngorms. Another wonderful surprise was bumping into Scotland's finest landscape photographer, Colin Prior. Lovely to chat and some banter. Hope you got some great Ptarmigan shots Colin. A grand day.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019


Beautiful light 

Break from te cold wind

Deep snow

Cairn Gorm summit 

Bynack Mor 

Bright sun, cold wind

Great snow cover 

Ciste Mhearad 
Lunch time 
Another very low temperature day on The Cairngorms,  combined with a high windchill. Lots of bright skies and sun with plenty of blowing snow. Phil out with me again today. Brushing up on some navigation in preparation for his Winter Mountain Leader assessment in March. We had a great day on the long, featureless North slopes that lead onto the Cairngorm plateau from the Ciste carpark. This is the nicest way to ascend Cairn Gorm summit,  avoiding much of the ski paraphernalia. We had another luxury lunch break in a snowshelter at Ciste Mhearad.  In the afternoon we headed around the seldom visited slopes on the East and South sides of Cairn Gorm . Some difficult features to locate here for micro navigation.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019


Very cold conditions, light winds and vastly improved snow cover in The Cairngorms today.  Great day out on the Cairngorm plateau with Phil. minus 7 C by late afternoon on the tops. Enough snow for snowshelters. Looking good.
Staying cold

Sunday, 27 January 2019


Starting up an icy Point Five Gully 

At the top!

Ski Road this morning 

Drifts into Sneachda 

Quiet today

We've not seen much of this this winter 

Reindeer conditions 

Not many views today
Amazing contrast from yesterday's damp, warm and soggy affair.  Today we had snow to Aviemore level. High winds meant the snow gates at Glenmore were closed all day so we hoofed it up the road to The Coire Cas carpark.  Deep drifts into Coire an t-Sneachda.  Only 2 climbers spotted in the poor visibility. Simon & Fraser on their second day of their course.  We had a brilliant,  breezy time up Point Five Gully.  Fabulous icy conditions,  the NW winds scoured the slopes which had already frozen from last nights temperature drop. We were almost blown all the way up. On the plateau it was a struggle in 70mph gusts and poor visibility.  Used GPS (Gary's Positioning System) to get us off the plateau and down through the ski area which is piled with fresh snow. Came back caked in rime. A brilliant WINTER day!

Saturday, 26 January 2019


Heading up to The Couloir 

Ice dripping 

Coire an Lochain 

Sun? Not today


Crampons not required 

More ice


Coming and going, a kind of winter 
Two days of 'warmth' and we are back to limited snow and ice again. It's been one of those winter's. The last week or so we've had cold conditions and some light snowfalls and things looked on the way up. Today was rain at all levels but by afternoon it turned to snow at around 800m. This weekend I have Father & Son team,  Simon & Fraser out on a two day winter course. They've previously had a couple of winter courses so are quite familiar with the winter scene. We headed into Coire an Lochain and some steep ground around the base of The Couloir.  This Grade I winter climb is looking lean at the moment and more like Grade II today with a couple of teams ascending roped up.  We made a wee tour of the coire,  getting as much up, down and traversing as possible. Good fun despite a 'wet pants' day. Winter returned this evening.  Snowing on the way home from Nethy Bridge. Wintry tomorrow , thankfully. It all starts again...

Thursday, 24 January 2019


Braeriach & Loch Einich from Sgor Gaoithe 

Zuzana admiring the views

Morning clouds

Good snow cover

Have you checked your compass?! 

Lovely light out to Monadhliath 




Sgor Gaoithe 

Beautiful day 

Fabulous day
Yet another stunning day in The Cairngorms! We're so lucky to get three continuous days of light (or non existent)  winds,  cold temperatures and blue skies on the mountains. Final day of Zuzana's 4 day course this week.  For a change of scenery and for more micro navigation we headed to the Feshie hills.  Great snow cover on Sgor Gaoithe,  topped up a wee bit from last nights light snowfall. The satellite ridges and 'Munro Tops ' that radiate from Sgor Gaoithe offer great navigation tests, even in clear weather. Of course this hill also has stonking views of Braeriach .
Interesting to see Zuzana's compass had reversed polarity, a common occurrence recently on my navigation courses. If you've not had your compass out in anger for a while it's worth checking it!
A brilliant 4 days with Zuzana and she's now skilled up for a lifetime of Scottish winter hillwalking.