Friday, 28 October 2016


Cairn Gorm and Loch Avon

Ptarmigan all set for winter, shouting for it

Loch Avon

Cairn Gorm in afternoon sun

Nearly white!
The one that got away
A bright afternoon with some nice sunshine today. A strong wind on the plateau and bitterly cold if you hung around for any length of time. Plenty of ptarmigan around and plenty of croaking going on. They are just getting into their winter plumage. Quite right, winter is most definitely just round the corner now. Forecast suggesting much colder early next week and the prospect of some snow. Bring it on.

Monday, 24 October 2016


Looking East from Spidean a' Choire Leith to Beinn Eighe
The Northwest Highlands were once again bathed in the best of the Autumn sunshine over the last couple of days. The big 'blocking high' over Scandinavia keeping the Atlantic weather fronts at bay. So it was to the finest mountain area in the UK I headed. Torridon is a fantastic place to be if you are a lover of narrow ridges, enjoy scrambling and you want stunning views out to sea. With plenty of Munros within a short journey from the village. You could quite easily spend a week here for the finest ridge walking on the mainland.
Liathachs Northern Pinnicles
If you have just one day in Torridon then Liathach must be the mountain to climb. A long ridge walk with plenty of narrow sections. There are two Munros at either end of the ridge, linked by Am Fasarinen, a section of pinnacles that require some scrambling. It is a memorable day out and I have traversed this magnificent mountain so many times, every occasion has been a cracker.
Scrambling on the Am Fasarinen Pinnacles
Flowerdale Forest and Beinn Dearg
The fine view of Liathach from the glen
To make the traverse even more special I caught the train to Achnasheen and cycled from there to the foot of the mountain. 20 miles of the finest Highland scenery you could ever wish for. Just the bike ride alone is a terrific couple of hours! So it was well after mid day before setting foot on the hill, well intended as I wanted that special late Autumn light at the end of the day. I wasn't to be disappointed.
Northern Pinnacles, Beinn Dearg and Beinn Alligin
Glen Torridon
Apart from a family of four folk, there wasn't anyone else along the entire 5km ridge. Savouring all the wonderful scrambling and views in this magic time of year. All too quick the scrambling section is over but with those wonderful views still dominating the walk to the second Munro summit of Mullach an Rathain.
Nearing the end of the scrambling
Am Fasarinen, Munro Top
The final stroll up to Mullach an Rathain
Loch Torridon and Beinn Alligin
Scrambling down
Northern Pinnicles and Flowerdale Forest


The Golden Hour on Beinn Eighe
The final scramble down on beautiful Torridonian sandstone
So I had to tear myself away from those stunning mountain and loch views from Mullach an Rathain, descending to the glen with a beautiful sunset over Loch Torridon. Another classic day out and another memorable time on the 2nd finest mountain, after An Teallach :)
Upper Loch Torridon
Sunset over Loch Torridon

Saturday, 22 October 2016


Map and Compass

Heading into Coire an Lochain

Cloud below 1000m for much of the day

Mike expertly finding top of Hells Lum

The odd break in the cloud

Strathspey inversion again

Good navigation to find the remains of the St. Valery Refuge

Finishing off at Cairn Gorm
Mike was out with me today on a one day navigation course. Mike is a keen long distance runner and was keen to get some tuition to further his map reading skills across the hills. We had perfect weather for navigating. The cloud was below 1000m for much of the day so poor visibility on the Cairngorm plateau. Mike navigated to many of the more difficult spots to locate and was getting more and more accurate with timings by the end of the day.. We finished by getting Mike his very first Munro, Cairn Gorm, by the south slopes and taking 7 hours to get there by a wonderful 'scenic' route. The best way to do Cairn Gorm! Great day out and great company. Mike is all set up for his next race, Skye traverse, north to south.

Friday, 21 October 2016


Coire an Lochain

A distant Creag Meagaidh and Monaliath

Moody Loch Morlich

Celandine Chelidonium majus

Better light in the afternoon on The Cairngorms

Another day of no wind on The Cairngorms

Strathspey from Creagan Gorm
High pressure still dominating the weather again today. It was even warmer than yesterday over here in the Cairngorms and hardly a breath of wind on the tops. The Southerly airflow meant it was T-shirt conditions all day. The light was quite poor for photography, it did improve for a time in the afternoon. Meall a' Bhuachaille is a popular and spectacular viewpoint. Over on Creagan, the next hill along the ridge, it was much quieter apart from the flock of 40-50 Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) birds which were up on the top.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Fabulous temperature inversion in Strathspey

Meall a' Bhuachaille above the cloud

Fiacaill Ridge fun

Ptarmigan showing off her winter wings

Fiacaill Ridge

Stunning morning above the inversion

Monahliath and Strathspey beyond

Keep looking back for theviews

Red Grouse just as vocal as the ptarmigan today

Coire an t-Sneachda

Loch Avon

More sun, more inversion

More of these guys


Cairngorm plateau in Autumn colours
High pressure once again sitting over much of The Highlands this week. That doesn't always mean clear skies of course. Today there was a glorious Temperature Inversion with the cloud sitting in Strathspey till well into the afternoon. Lovely sun and not even a breeze on the summit. A great day for a scramble along the Fiacaill Ridge with some wonderful Cairngorm wildlife thrown into the day. The rock was a bit greasy and slippy this morning, from the overnight rain and cold conditions. Once in the sun it was fine and good dry rock. Autumn colours just wonderful at the moment. The wee spell of winter the last couple of days was short lived. All the snow from Tuesday as gone in the warmer temperatures. No doubt it will return again soon but in the meantime it is just nice to still feel the warmth of the October sun. I was surprised to see some Kalmia procumbens (Trailing Azalea) still in flower at 1100m on the plateau, in Autumn?