Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Weird Winter…so far

I haven’t been publishing much as late, I put it down to the particular variable winter weather we have been having in Scotland this year. I’ve been getting out in to the Cairngorms for 1 or 2 nights at a time visiting the usual haunts with varying ‘success’.
January was a bit of a mixed bag, not much white stuff around & seemingly endless days of gale force winds. The first trip of the year ended up with a retreat to the Corrour bothy due to horrendous winds & an early return home.
The second looked at the outset to be a lot more promising 25 – 30 cm of new snow & overnight temperatures of -15C. I failed in my attempt to get to Loch Avon giving up after hours breaking trail though deep powder snow, despite wearing snowshoes, & retiring to the lower glen. I satisfied myself the following day with a slow shuffle up Beinn Bhreac.
Glen Derry Jan19
February brought a heat wave & spring like conditions, soggy ground & swollen streams,  time for a quick overnighter to just temper the cabin fever & checkout conditions.
The warm weather had made a significant impact upon the snow cover, now lack of it!
Ended up taking a stroll up the Lairig Ghru & into Garbh Choire Mór.
WW1

WW2

WW3

WW4A few days later the mild weather was forecast to be coming to an end so I headed for the hills again heading up Glen Quoich in bright afternoon sunshine; one of my favourite parts of the ‘gorms.

WW5

WW6I had intended pitching up near the summit of Ben Avon but ended up just short of the ‘Sneck’ @ c850m.
WW7
The warm afternoon, 12C, soon turned distinctly chilly as soon as the sun went down, little breeze, clear sky & -3C at 7pm. All changed by the morning +4C, low cloud & a stiff breeze blowing, climbing I entered the clag, 10-15m vis.
Turned R (East) at the ‘Sneck’ & climbed the well-worn path up to the plateau, it didn’t take long for the distinctive shape of the granite torr of Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe to appear out of the mist.
WW8
Back down to the ‘Sneck’, up the other side & up to Cnap a’Chleirich
WW10

WW11
A good opportunity for some nav practise, (map, compass & watch) over North Top & West across the Moine Bhealaidh. All went well until a bit of sloppy nav about 1km West of North Top, I wasn’t paying attention to slope aspect, saw me a bit off the ideal route in a boulder field.
WW12
I soon got sorted & by the time I got down to c850m elev the cloud lifted a bit making the crossing of the southern flank of Beinn a’ Chaorainn easy.
WW13
Plan A was to descend to North of the Glas Allt Mór then go up to Loch Etchtachan for the night before returning over Derry Cairngorm, but the view across Glen Derry didn’t look that enticing.
WW14
I decide to bail out again & come back another day. All in all, you could say I’ve had a catalogue of ‘failures’ so far this year but I like to see just getting out for a night or two on the hill as a success in itself & I think that to really know a mountain range like the ‘gorms intimately you need to experience them in all seasons & weather conditions plus I never seem to get a better nights’ sleep than when pitched up by a roaring stream.

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2 comments on “Weird Winter…so far

  1. Kirsten
    March 8, 2019

    Thanks for this, Paul, and your photos as always. It makes my lack of achievement this season less of an embarrassment. Here’s to a good Spring!

    • Paul Atkinson
      March 8, 2019

      Looks like winter is putting in a final appearance this week, hills white again!

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2019 by in Trip Reports and tagged , .
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