Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday walk 3rd Dec 2012

The walk was organised by Malcolm and Susan.  From Glen Cluanie we
ascended Carn an Tuirc and Cairn of Claise

Carn an Tuirc  

A bit of a slog in deep snow

but it sparkled with frost crystals

and extensive views in crystal clear air

Victorian fenceposts and boulders transformed by ice

From the second summit heading down into the dwindling daylight

Susan was freezing in the van but heat, light, tea and cakes revived everyone

Monday, December 3, 2012

John’s Last Munro (again!)

The reasonable forecast for last weekend was enough to get John into action to go and bag the final Munro of his second round. The hill of choice was Sgurr Mor in Knoydart, a tricky little beast to get to at the best of times. Sadly it wasn’t the best of times and the walk-in to Kinbreak bothy on Friday night was a bit more epic than we had planned for. Despite the almost full moon the path was elusive, leaving us with the choice of bog or semi-frozen argo tracks, which have proliferated hugely in this area since our last visit. Wet, cold and fed up after 2½ hours we arrived to find the bothy in good condition. A swift dram and a cheesy oatcake were enough to see us into our pits.
Sgurr Mor (C) by moonlight

Not our latest DIY - Kinbreak bothy
Saturday dawned fine so off we set, surprised at just how much snow it looked like there was higher up. We had been expecting a healthy dusting but as we ascended the Corbett of Sgurr an Fhuarain we were soon ankle to knee deep, with deeper drifts. Luckily most of it was just powder, but the patches of soft slab were hard going. Elevenses on the summit were a welcome rest and for the first time we noticed that the weather, instead of getting better through the day as expected, was closing in a bit.

Ascending Sgurr an Fhuarain, Gairich behind

Sgurr Mor in sight

A quick but cold scoot down the west ridge got us to the base of Sgurr Mor with just one more climb left. Again this turned into a bit of a flouter through deep snow near the summit, which we made just before the weather really broke down and the showers became a couple of hours of continuous snow. Celebrations were limited to a quick lunch and a very wee dram huddled behind a rock, before heading off the way we had come to get down as fast as we could. Despite the rapid descent we didn’t make it back to the bothy until just before sunset, a result of the slow going on the tops.
Last few steps
Turned out nice again...

Kinbreak bothy
I would like to say that the party then raged until well into the following morning but with just two of us there, sub-zero temperatures and a defective fire log we turned in by 9, just as the snow outside really started falling.
Finally got the fire going
Expecting to wake up on Sunday to deep snow outside we were surprised to see just a dusting. It looked like it had melted for a while before freezing hard. We tromped up the glen for a bit before getting back to the car over the Corbett of Fraoch Bheinn. Being a bit lower than Saturday’s hills there wasn’t as much of an issue with deep snow and it all felt a bit easier in the fantastic conditions. A great way to end a fine and significant weekend away. What next?
Gairich on Sunday morning

Topping out on Fraoch Bheinn

Looking back to Sgurr Mor

Flouter time

The peaks of central Knoydart
Across to Ben Nevis
View east down a foggy Loch Arkaig