Monday, 16 January 2017

MILD, SLOW THAW & CAIRNGORM WILDLIFE

A benign, mild day in Coire an Lochain

Mountain Hare taking shelter

I've seen less snow in mid January

Good day for ptarmigan

Still winter like, just

Not much ice in Coire an Lochain

Hare again

Time to go

For a walk
video
Yet another frustrating massive temperature rise, it looks like it's going to be one of those winters. The weekend was very cold and very snowy, some folk would say too much snow!. Today and yesterday was very mild. Much of the snow at lower levels has now disappeared and there is hardly any ice left on the crags. With summit temperatures in The Cairngorms at +4 degrees today. Having said that  I have seen less snow on the hills in mid January so all is not lost! It was a good day for some Cairngorms wildlife watching in the corries. Plenty of Mountain Hare and Ptarmigan roaming around.  Very light winds and some nice bright spells of sunshine, a lovely day to be out. Forecasts are suggesting a colder spell by the end of the week, just what we need to consolidate the snow.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

GREAT WINTER CONDITIONS ON BEN VRACKIE

Ben Vrackie

Looking south from Ben Vrackie


High windchill on the summit

Great snow cover

Windslab near the summit

Great views of Beinn a' Ghlo

Lochan frozen

Descending

Chilly on top
With a forecast of bright skies south from The Cairngorms today, we decided to head down to Pitlochry and have a day out on the fabulous wee hill of Ben Vrackie. Another decision of heading away from the Cairngorms was to avoid the knee to waist deep drifts! A hill that is popular was sure to have a well blazed trail up through the soft, unconsolidated snow. I wasn't wrong. We were spot on weather wise too, south of Drumochter the skies cleared and we were in sunshine for most of the day. Ben Vrackie  fails to reach the magic  Munro height by only 70 odd metres. This popular Corbett was a regular walk of mine when I lived in Killin so it was like visiting an old friend. Of all the winter ascents of the hill this must be the best weather day I have ever experienced up here. There was a high windchill on the top, even though the winds were quite light today. Beautiful clear, crisp views in all directions. The view of Beinn a' Ghlo from the summit is particularly fine. It wasn't a hill to be on if you wanted peace and solitude, don't think I have seen so many folk up here. Thankfully axe and crampons weren't required today, if they were some folk may have had a very different experience. The final 200m had a deep covering of snow and the hill was looking very fine under it's winter coat. Turning milder tomorrow which is great, just what we need to consolidate the snow pack, but no heatwaves please!

Friday, 13 January 2017

DEEP SNOW CAIRNGORMS

Enough snow?

Visibility ok in morning

Strathspey

The odd blizzard

Visibility 10 minutes from carpark

Big drifts at low altitudes
Heavy snowfall overnight and more high winds had transformed the streets of Aviemore. When it's like that you know it's going to be a hard day on the hill. Fun day out with Pete this morning, we  had a leisurely start and stroll into Coire an Lochain. A lot of folk were already walking out at mid morning. If you're thinking of heading out next day or so you may want to think about  changing your route or in for a much longer day than expected! If you're not particularly fit then it will certainly get you fit! :). A nice sunny day is forecast tomorrow with lighter winds. A nice trench up to the tops would be nice folks :)

Thursday, 12 January 2017

AVALANCHE AWARE CPD DAY

Avalanche transceivers

Heading into wintry terrain at last

Excavating a buried avalance victim

Windslab easy shears

More easy shears

Examining in detail

Strathspey, more like winter today

Richard finding more weak layers

and again

Getting there
Snowfall overnight and much lower temperatures saw winter arrive down to Aviemore today. Strong winds on the tops had scoured a lot of snow and this has been deposited at lower levels on the hills. It was back to a very welcome winter scene in The Cairngorms. We even had some blue skies and sun this morning. Continued Professional Development (CPD) is an important part of any profession, including the mountain leader award certificates. Today I was on a one day CPD course on Avalanche awareness and the use of avalanche transceivers.  Today's session was run by John on behalf of BAIML, the governing body for International Mountain Leader award. After an hour or so in the 'class room' at The Lodge we headed out onto the hill. Despite the low temperatures it was pleasant out on the hill with only light winds in Sneachda. More snowfall overnight and winds increasing again.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

FRESH SNOW ON BRAERIACH

Sgor Gaoith from Glen Einich

Coire Dhondail, Braeriach

Coire Dhondail, Braeriach

Snowline around 650m

Looking better, Sgor Gaoith

Braeriach briefly clearing

Glen Einich

Loch Einich
A cooler day today thankfully and a dusting of fresh overnight snow in The Cairngorms and other areas of The Highlands. Forecast over the next few days is much colder as winds swing round to a Northerly, Arctic airflow bringing much needed snow to the mountains! I had a quick blast on the bike up Glen Einich today. It was nice to see the mountains looking more wintry with fresh snow down to about 650m on Braeriach and Sgor Gaoith. I took a wander up into Coire Dhondail, one of Braeriachs many beautiful, lonely corries. It was poor visibility above 800m as the cloud came and went. It will hopefully be a lot whiter by tomorrow and beyond. Winter returns, again!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

WARM AND SUNNY IN JANUARY!

Loch Morlich and Braeriah

Coire an Lochain

Warm in the sun!

Loch Morlich

Meall a' Bhuachaille

Nethy Forest

Northern Corries

Bynack Mor
End of another week where we have seen a huge variety of temperatures, weather conditions, snow down to low levels and snow disappearing! The last couple of days has seen a big temperature rise once more, stripping the lovely snow we had just last Thursday where it was sub zero temperatures and an excellent cover of snow across the Cairngorm plateau. Today seemed like a Spring day on Meall a' Bhuachaille.  The sun was out and we enjoyed blue skies for much of the day in the Eastern Highlands. Don't be fooled, it's all change again tomorrow with snow forecast on the higher tops, come midweek it is forecast to be a northerly airflow bringing very low temperatures and snowfall to glen levels. More like January, thankfully!
Availability update. All my weekend winter courses are now completely full until mid March. I still have plenty mid week dates, but last two weeks in February I am completely full.