Friday, December 24, 2010

Deep and Crisp and Even

An early Christmas present for John & Ann with a fantastic ski tour in the hills around Lochnagar. Skis on from the start and great snow and weather conditions all day.

Early clag lifting off the tops
It's that lass with the bent leg again
Higher up there was nice powder over the old base which made for very flattering conditions.
Even on good days there are obstacles

Monday, December 20, 2010

Glen Tanar

Not a great day for photos in more ways than one for John and Ann's Sunday ski around Glen Tanar. I forgot the camera so we only had the primitive one on Ann's phone. Still, it was probably good enough in the conditions. Having been recently reunited with our touring skis we had been toying with the idea of an ascent of Mount Keen but the constant snowfall for the first couple of hours persuaded us to just do a circuit in the glen.

View up the glen

Generally quite hard going with fresh powder over boot depth even on the skis but it made the old pines look very pretty. Despite not having done it for a few years our waxing skills seemed up to the job although the initial choice of blue proved a bit optimistic - red special was perfect though.

John in action

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Not a great day for photos

Chris and myself (Alex) made a late decision to head for the hills this Sunday. Forecast looked average at best, but we were both keen to stretch the legs and work off some office Christmas dinners. Glen Callater was the destination, with a loop around Carn an Tuirc and Tolmount providing the objectives. The roads were pretty tame beyond Aberdeen, and just an inch or so of fresh powder on the track up the glen outwith the drifts.

Glen Callater

The glen was nice on the approach, with plenty of deer around and some of the biggest flocks of grouse I've ever seen. But, as we ascended Carn an Tuirc, the snow clouds descended upon us. Much of the time up high was spent in a whiteout, with a strong easterly wind blasting us with snow at bitterly cold temperatures. Not as pleasant as last weekend, but entertaining nonetheless.

It was a long walk back along Jock's Road (aka Jock's Undulating Deathtrap) and Loch Callater, with the newly fallen knee-deep snow nicely covering ice patches, burns, and general holes of doom. Then it got dark. The following photos provide a reasonable storyboard of the afternoon...

Fine views

Don't forget your goggles


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Glenshee Ski

While the Sunday walkers were enjoying the sun (see previous post), John & Ann were under the clouds further east. The day started out OK even though it was a bit too icy for good skiing. The skis went on almost at the car, followed by an icy climb up towards Glas Maol

Once up high there was still very good snow cover on the plateau

Looking back to Glas Maol
Then we looped around over Carn a Claise and Carn an Tuirc when the cloud started to come in. Not ideal ski conditions, especially as it looked like everywhere else was in Sun.

Heading up Carn an Tuirc
The descent down Turkey Gully gave a good run as usual and we managed to pick a way most of the distance back to the car, with a few Scottish ski moments on the way

Turkey Gully telemarking


Monday, December 13, 2010

An Socach, via Glen Ey

Five of us (some shaking off sore heads from the previous night) headed west past Braemar yesterday for a long walk up Glen Ey. We took the track from Inverey in and out of the glen, ascending the ridge of Creag an Fhuathais, across the plateau to An Socach and then down to Altanour Lodge.
Descending An Socach, with the tops of the main Cairngorm plateau in the distance

Fortunately (for us!) the cloud stayed put over John and Ann in Glenshee, and we were treated to clear skies pretty much all day. The thaw had reduced the complete snow cover of the past couple of weeks, leaving the hills draped in a beautiful patchwork of heather and icy snow patches.

The snow cover was still pretty complete on the tops, but now pretty icy following some warmer days. Not a soul seen all day, with just the hares, grouse and deer around to share the fine winter weather. Good times all round, unless you were Dan's feet in his new winter boots. Ouch!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lochnagar on Skis

After a very early outing to the Cairngorm plateau in very poor visibility and patchy snow cover a couple of weeks ago it was time to try again with a good forecast and excellent snow. Linda Smith, Romain and I decided to ski in from the Victorian Bridge just short of Invercauld at Garbh Allt Shiel and head up towards Lochnager via the Stuic.

Up through the forest in deep fluffy powder in tracks made very neatly for us by another
party!.....and up out onto the open slopes leading up to the Stuic.

Crusty snow led up to the plateau but it was quite grippy for climbing up the final slopes to the top of the Stuic where we met another couple of skiers - the only people we saw all day. Fantastic having the whole of the Lochnagar plateau almost to ourselves.

Under clear blue skies but with a biting wind we skinned around across to the main Lochnagar summit which was completely buried under lovely powdery snow.

We left the summit and the lovely powder behind for a good but entertaining descent off the NW side of the ridge on deeply wind scoured snow but at least it was firm and sqeaky and took a very good edge.

Then finally back across the moor and a final swoosh down through the powder coated forestry tracks back to the car. A fantastic day out and 4 months of winter still to go!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An early season ski

John and Ann dusted off the skis to check out the snow on the Glenshee hills last Sunday. An easy first day out of the season to get the legs going. Great weather, and really nice snow conditions with quite a lot of Scottish powder plus the inevitable patches of windslab and icy bits.
Fine weather and good snow cover on the Glenshee hills
The extended pinky is essential to executing a textbook turn.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Club meet: Glencoe, 26-28 Nov 2010

Last weekend saw a group of us head across to Glencoe for the final weekend meet of 2010. We stayed in Blackrock Cottage, located at the base of Meall a' Bhuiridh and the ski centre.

Blackrock Cottage (and the mighty Escort)

On the Aonach Eagach

A snowy exit to Aberdeen and a few ferocious blizzards further west on the Friday night were quickly forgotten on the Saturday morning, as a fine, settled dawn progressed into a beautiful day.

Five of us set off pretty early for the Clachaig Inn, with the Aonach Eagach providing a suitably scenic route there. The air was cold but still, with the sun providing a bit of extra warmth in the afternoon. The ridge had a good covering of dry snow (of variable consistency) and the ground was well frozen, although plenty of rock was still showing on steeper ground.

The Aonach Eagach (Photos by Alex Brown and Stuart Doig)

John and Ann headed into Glen Etive to complete a circuit around Meall nan Eun and Stob Coir' an Albannaich, providing cracking views of the Glencoe hills to the north.

Another party took advantage of the fine weather to take in several local Corbetts, while a few others headed up the slopes of Meall a' Bhuiridh for some tobogganing.

Gully on the ascent of Stob Coir' an Albannaich
Ascent of  Stob Coir' an Albannaich
Panorama of Glencoe hills
Mulled wine, minced pies and a three-course feast (of the excellent quality we have grown accustomed to) were consumed with gusto that evening. The stars put on quite a show too.

A clear night over Blackrock Cottage
The threat of a period of heavy snow and strong winds sent most people heading for home on Sunday morning, while Alex and Chris chanced it with a quick foray to the summit of Meall a' Bhuiridh.

Long, snowy and, at times, exciting drives back to Aberdeen were had by all.