Category: Scotland

Winter Climbing on Lochnagar.

Martin, Martina, Charlie and I were up early and heading from Braemar to Glen Muick, where we could begin the 7km walk into Lochnagar. The morning brought a pink sunrise and cold, crisp air as we walked along the icy path that would lead us to the corrie and our first winter climbing of the season.

The corrie of Lochnagar.

Martin and I took a look at Raeburn’s Gully but the broad opening at its base was such hard going in the deep snow that we chose to climb Central Buttress instead. An easy solo up a gully took us to some wonderful frozen turf that gave a satisfying thud with each swing of our ice tools.

Martin at the top of the first pitch of Central Buttress.

Reaching the rocky crest of the buttress, the climbing was varied and challenging with some great positions. Feeling the effects of our marathon journey the previous night as a strong blizzard engulfed the mountain, we decided to abseil back into the corrie and begin the long walk back.

Martin on the airy pinnacles as the blizzard took hold.

Taking photos was the furthest thing from my mind as the storm blew hard into our faces and stung our eyes. In the fading light we reached the col above the corrie and followed a compass bearing into the misty darkness to reach the main path back to the car.

The falling snow had mercifully covered the extensive patches of ice along the trail and we finished tired but satisfied with a good return to the Scottish winter.

Winter Walking in the Scottish Highlands

Ida, Luke, Katie and I drove up to Onich for three contrasting days of walking. The first was a windy day around the Ballachullish Horseshoe, complete with a full-on blizzard for an hour or so. Our next day took us up Aonach Beag and into a peaceful whiteout where the air was still and we couldn’t see more than a few metres in any direction. Lastly, we enjoyed a glorious day of bright sunshine, blue sky and sparkling snow on a traverse of the Devil’s Ridge in the Mamores.

Winter walking in Glen Coe.

A glimpse of one of Joby's great 3D panoramas.
A glimpse of one of Joby's great 3D panoramas.

Craig, Joby, Matt, John and I spent a wonderful weekend in the most amazing weather and snow conditions I have encountered in Scotland. The snow covering was topped with a deep dusting of fluffy crystals that made it look as though the whole place had been sprinkled with diamonds that glittered in the sunlight. At the end of the day, the angle of the light was just right to bring out the whole light spectrum through the snow crystals as they reflected red, pink, orange, yellow, green and blue. Beautiful!

Here are some links to Joby’s blog. Take a look at his incredible 3D panoramic shots…