Our blog - Cairngorm, 28 Dec'17

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Cairngorm in winter

28 December 2017
A winter's day hiking to the summit of Cairngorm. Richard Kermode was leading....

I met up with Bradley & Laura at the Cairngorm Ski centre after some heavy overnight snow had fallen. We had a quick chat and equipment check before changing our original plan and heading for the windy ridge to make for the summit of Cairngorm. The forecast was mixed with cold winds and possibility of cloud most of the day. We set off into the fresh snow following mountain hare tracks through the snow with no other signs of life ahead of us as we climbed into the cloud. It was like we had the mountain to ourselves despite having seen plenty of climbers, walkers and skiers at the car park since nobody was going this way at least not yet anyway!

As we entered thicker cloud and extremely poor visibility we spotted some ski school groups in the vicinity of the Ptarmigan restaurant and they were the first people on the mountain that we saw. The building was impressively well rimed with plastered snow and ice making it look like they’d recently painted it a new colour. We made use of the facilities and set off up the final summit slopes into near whiteout conditions leaving all the day trippers from the Funicular behind and made a lovely trail up through pristine snow to the summit hearing some Ptarmigan out in the snow though never seeing them… The summit cairn was a welcome sight and we had a wee celebration on the summit as it had been Laura & Bradleys wish to climb a mountain something they hadn’t done before. It was a strange to have the summit to ourselves and we sheltered behind the weather station for a hot drink before opting to descend via the same route stopping in for a hot chocolate at the Ptarmigan restaurant along the way!

We were already halfway down to the carpark when suddenly we had a magnificent view of Loch Morlich and Meall a’Bhuachaille with what looked like sunlight lighting them up! It was fantastic and we stopped to enjoy the improving views until we began to feel the cold again. It was a lovely day out to start working off the Christmas dinner and the perfect finish to a first mountain for Bradley & Laura!

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