Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Cairngorm for Sunset

Great to be back at work, isn't it? Fortunately there are weekends and holidays to come, and memories to sustain us. Memories like a snowy sunset on Cairngorm.

Sunset silhouette at Cairngorm cairn:


We started at the Coire Cas car park - full of skiers' cars - and took the path along the base of the Northern Corries, a popular and easily accessible winter climbing area. I've tried some easy winter climbs, but you'd have to pay me a lot of money to try some of the climbs in Coire an t-Sneachda! Winter climbing, like motorbike racing, is a sport for those who are more relaxed about dying than the average member of the population.

Ascending to the Cairngorm plateau:


At the far end of the Northern Corries the terrain relents, and it is possible for a walker to ascend to the Cairngorm plateau. This is the easy bit, close to the road: far away across the trench of Loch Avon stretch more remote hills like Beinn Mheadoin, a challenging target in the depths of winter.

Beinn Mheadoin:


By now the sun was already low in the sky, and this walk, though short, spends 4km above 4000ft, rarified ground for Scotland. You don't want to be up here after dark in winter unless you are very well prepared.

On the final slopes:


Once down, Miles enthused about a wild bivvy in the forest. It would be fun, he said. It will be brutal, I argued. However I was perversely looking forward to twelve hours uncontrollable shivering in a sleeping bag. Go back to my roots of sleeping wrapped in newspaper and heather in bothies, prove I could still do it, that kind of thing.

We came out of the pub looking for something to eat. The ground, which had been clear just an hour earlier, was covered with a thick layer of frost. It was going to be very cold in Aviemore tonight. We looked at each other, wimped out, and found bunks in a hostel instead...

2 comments:

Ryan said...

You wimp lol, I think you made the right decision mate. Stunning pics great post.

Robert Craig said...

Cheers. I've got one more volunteer for swamp soccer too if you're putting a team together...