Our blog - Winter in Cairngorms, 3-4 Mar'18

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

Winter in the Cairngorms

3-4 March 2018
Hill-bagging while avoiding the 'Beast from the East' ! Richard Kermode was leading....

The beast from the east didn't quite catch us up in strathspey though many folks travel plans were obviously cancelled. So when Steven let me know Jonathan, Charles and Eli had managed to reach Inverness we made a plan for the weekend.

Day 1

I met up with them in Newtonmore where we walked up Glen Toad rather than attempt to get up in our cars and were glad we did (though on our return most of the snow and ice had gone). It didn't take long to get into the deep snow and we made our way towards A'Chailleach using the track and the buried bridge in it's hidden winter wonderland before reaching the open hill. We could have done with snowshoes as we began to encounter deep drifts including a missing river on our way up to the wee hut for a welcome break. As we were on south east slopes there was a mixture of scoured old snow and new deep drifting snow so we made reasonable progress up into a nearly complete white room to meet more mountain hares than you could count! They were in groups of five to twelve and there was definitely some March boxing going on.

The visibility wasn't great so didn't manage any pictures of them unfortunately. The journey to the summit was windy and fresh snow was falling though we found a icier route to the top to use our crampons with some instruction to those who'd never used them before. It was a surprise to find some relative shelter at the summit cairn for a spot of lunch before we began our descent. It was a tough day breaking trail and we emerged from the clouds to enjoy some winter light over Newtonmore before afternoon tea at the hut to set us up for the walk back to the village to complete a fun day out in the snow.

Day 2

Our second day was slightly easier as there were a few tired legs after all the deep snow so we drove up to Glenmore to climb Meall a'Bhuachaille. The road to the ski centre was closed causing some delays as we worked our way up the queue to the carpark. It was much easier than yesterday as we headed up the path behind the visitor centre and into some wild weather. The wind was Baltic and snow was often falling throughout the day with the goggles coming out to teach the summit and hide behind the shelter and cairn up there. After some food and drink we walked on into the wind and down to Ryvoan Bothy to enjoy a lovely walk back through the pass in the snow.

It definitely wasn't the trip that had been planned, but we had a couple of good walks in the hills in some challenging winter weather!

More photos by Richard Kermode are here on Flickr.

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