Friday, 17 November 2017

Winter has arrived (for now)

Cath visited from Edinburgh and this coincided with a great start to winter, but will it last, thats the million dollar question for many...

Views back South to Rothimurchas

On Saturday we limbered up by heading to the Cairngorms and walked up Meall a' Bhuachaille from Glenmore. It's Gaelic name means 'rounded hill of the herdsman'. I've wanted to walk this wee hill to the West of Cairngorm for some time and today it was really enjoyable in the winter conditions.

The top!

Cath heading down
Great views of the bigger hills, Bynack More, Braeriach and Cairngorm to name a few flicked in and out of the cloud and snow showers. It was a good vantage point to piece together parts of the forest too.

Ryvoan Bothy

Cath in the bothy

Loch Uaine (green lochan)
All too quickly we were up and over and decending down to the lovely Ryvoan Bothy. After a pit stop here we headed back past the Green Lochan and an alternative forest path to finish.

Snow here we come

Beautiful natural patterns
We all felt in the zone so planned to go for a munro in Strathfarrar on the Sunday. Strathfarrar is a beautiful glen West of home, but it has tricky gated access. In the summer you register, take a ticket, head up the glen and have to be let back out again before dusk. But I wasn't sure of the winter access rules.

Looking East to the Black Isle and sea
The internet suggested that it was open for car access all winter... We headed over at about 8:30am and to our surprise were faced with a 'glen closed' sign which helpfully informed us that it reopened to vehicular access in May!! Friction great! The further annoyance was that I only had the OS map for beyond the gates, where the munro was...

I started to think that the day was ruined, but after checking the (different) OS map on my phone realised that North of the gate/carpark was a Corbet, and it looked brilliant covered in fresh snow..

So it was a risk only having a map on my phone, but we decided to go for this hill as it looked beautiful, and to be honest we didn't have much choice at this point as we'd lose an hour or more going home for an alternative map.

Time to head back
We set off through an enclosed deer park set in a beautiful forest and headed for the snow line. Passing a hidden lochan it quickly became apparent that it was going to be a tough walk as there wasn't much of a path to follow, but it was amazing scenery.

Looking back
We got into the snow and it was fantastic, but such hard going on the pathless heathery terrain often in snow up to 12-18" deep. We climbed and toiled, snow showers blew in and out but for a while time stood still and we didn't seem to be getting any closer to the first top.

Eventually we got to Carn na Gabhalach, at just over 700m and realised we wouldn't get much further and back with the time available so called it a day and stopped at this point and soaked up the views before turning and heading for home.

1 comment:

  1. Silly boy, in the winter you need to get the code for the gate from Mountaineering Scotland.