Monday, 30 January 2017

One roll day in the Cairngorms

With a bonny weather forecast I headed down to the Cairngorms with Martin as I'd persuaded him to walk up Sgor Gaoith from Glen Feshie. We had a leisurely start and when we arrived the small forest carpark was pretty full.

Martin's philosophy of a later start and later finish seemed a little alien to me, its been drummed into me to start as early as possible, but actually as I'm also not a morning person either I might try this approach more in the future. The benefit is that you have a nice relaxing morning, more sleep, more coffee, and then you are more likely to catch the sunset/golden hour light whilst still up on the hill as we did today.

Glen Feshie and out West

On Geal-charn
There looked to be a nice covering of fresh snow as we geared up and Martin put on his race trainers and gaiters. He declared he might be quite slow today after a big walk on Beinn Eighe 2 days previously, but I was soon to learn that this wasn't the case at all!

Into the clag
We shot off with no one in sight and walked up through beautiful forest covered with a dusting of fresh snow. We headed NNE to the col between Creag Mhigeachaidh and Geal-charn before gaining this latter top and speedily crossing 4 minor tops before reaching the col North of Sgor Gaoith.

At about 1000m the weather changed and we were in cloud and the temperature dropped. From the col we firstly headed North to Sgoran Dubh Mor, meeting a couple of Eagle ski club members on this top who had changed their original ski plans to walking due to insufficient snow.

On Sgoran Dubh Mor with the Eagles!
Retracing our steps we headed due South and reached Sgor Gaoith. I'd hoped to see down to Loch Einich but alas it was too claggy, so we pressed on Southwards. I was also hoping for some food/lunch but Martin (the machine) was going well so we pressed on as there was no shelter up here.

Can Ban Mor

Near to Carn Ban Mor the weather lifted again, and we found a sheltered area and had some lunch. The views in all directions were spectacular and we drank them in, but we didn't linger as it was still very cold.

Up over Carn Ban Mor and we headed NW over some minor tops including Carn Ban Beag. This decent was pretty magical, beautiful snow to walk through, blue sky, calm/no wind, sun starting to go down casting some amazing light in every direction.

Its sad when these days come to an end, but as we walked back through the now gloomy forest, the trees still had a frost and slight dusting of snow on them, the path had an icy crunch and I thought that it had been a near perfect day out in the hills.

Footnote - On the drive back North Martin munched his 2nd lunch roll and declared the day had been a 1 roll day. I guess he meant easy and un-testing. I think as we went over so many tops, and had to take a bearing at one point in claggy weather I felt it was definitely complete sandwich day, which I guess equates to a 2 roll day in my eyes!!

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