The last two days Mike and I have been out in the Glen Shee area with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors combined ski touring and walking team of Anna, Jenny, Lesley, Nicola and Norrie. On Friday Mike and the skiers skinned up Carn an Tuirc and descended to Loch Callater on soft thawing snow. Norrie and I walked in to Loch Callater via Creag nan Gabhar and after dumping some gear in the Callater Stables bothy we walked up Jock’s Road and round to the summit of Tolmount before returning to the bothy. We’d carried tents and bivvy gear, but there was no one else at the bothy, so we were all able to have a pleasant night inside.
Today we awoke to bright sunny conditions, low winds and an overnight frost, which had firmed up the snow and made for much easier walking and skiing conditions. The skiers reclimbed Carn an Tuirc and found some excellent conditions for a number of descents, before skiing out to the road. Norrie and I headed over Carn an Tuirc and Cairn of Claise before descending via the first part of the Sron na Gaoithe ridge then dropping down to the Allt a’Garbh Coire. A beautiful blue sky day today with excellent ski touring and walking conditions and lots of teams out enjoying the snow. There are still some large cornices and these need to be considered in route choice on thawing and sunny days.
After I headed back up from down south yesterday Nettle and I were keen to get out in the hills today to blow the Christmas cobwebs away.
We headed for Glen Shee and very hopefully took ski touring gear thinking there was a small chance we might be able to link snow patches for a quick tour. The skis stayed firmly in the van and we headed out for a walk over Glas Maol; out and back to Creag Leacach, around to Druim Mor and up to Cairn of Claise. This took in three new Munros for Nettle and a new top for me and fitted the day well.
There were quite a lot of snow patches around higher up. The snow was generally wet and soft, but was firming up at height as the day wore on. The ground was saturated and above about 1000m some of the turf was still firm. Early on in the day it was raining continuously with this falling as sleet above 900m. The rain eased off early in the morning with just the odd hail or sleet shower in the afternoon. Strong southerly winds through the day and these were increasing in strength to above 50mph at height as we descended.