Sunday, 15 February 2015

Winter in the Scottish mountains (1)

Since the start of the new year I have been enjoying the snow on a couple of hillwalking and ski touring trips. I took many photos of beautiful winter landscapes which I can't resist sharing here with you!

The first trip was a 6-hour walk to our local mountain Lochnagar, near Loch Muick, Aberdeenshire. It was a beautiful day but quite windy at the top. The views were spectacular!

Selfie with Lochnagar in background ©Fenfolio2015

Lochnagar ©Fenfolio2015

At the end of January I went away with the ski touring club ESTC. It was an exciting journey as it had snowed a lot the day before meaning that the small road leading to our accomodation Slochd Mohr lodge off the A9 was cut off due to the piles of snow created by the snow plough. But with our snow shovel (essential part of our ski touring equipment), winter tyres and determination we managed to arrive just before it was dark. We had a short cross-country skiing trip in the forest in lovely powder snow with our head torches, very exciting!

The next morning we started our ski tour from the lodge. We were so lucky with the weather; blue sky, bright sunshine, below zero and no wind at all! Were we really in Scotland??

Slochd trip ©Fenfolio2015

A superb day for ski touring ©Fenfolio2015

Surrounded with beauty ©Fenfolio2015

Our group on one of the tops ©Fenfolio2015

Although a lot of snow had fallen the days before, it had also been very windy from the West which meant that many areas were icy and some areas were lovely (especially East facing). It was fine for skinning (no crampons needed) but it was difficult to find a good run downhill. All of them would end up in grass and/or heather. Almost at the end of our trip I found a section however that looked very promising. Although it was quite a short descent, it was heaven to float through the fluffy snow for the first time this year!

First track of the season ©Fenfolio2015

On Sunday I tagged along with a small group who were going to ski Dalwhinnie near Drumochter Pass. I had never been there and always wanted to explore that side of the country.

Ski route Dalwhinnie ©Fenfolio2015

The weather forecast didn't look promising with low clouds and high winds (up to about 40mph on the top) but that didn't matter because we were well prepared.

Skinning up in flat light ©Fenfolio2015
Sometimes there was a break in the clouds ©Fenfolio2015

I'm feeling  very cosy in my balaclava! ©Fenfolio215

Steady pacing uphill ©Fenfolio2015

Top in sight ©Fenfolio2015

On the top visibilty and snow conditions were poor. Now I knew for sure I was in Scotland! The wind was also ferocious so after quickly taking off our skins we carefully made our descent. It was hard going due the sastrugi and flat light but once we were halfway down it all got better and we could really enjoy our skiing.

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