Changing Conditions

Loch Avon

What a difference a day makes in conditions at the moment! Throughout the night there was rain and wind at low level in the Cairngorms, and a sleet shower as we drove through Aviemore did not inspire confidence. However, the passing of the front brought a vicious freeze, which firmed things up greatly. The winds were still viciously strong and we were thankful for the lee of the Ptarmgian station to don our crampons.

Navigation work in the whiteout

Today we wanted a different view of the Cairngorms and to venture to a less frequented area, so chose to drop down into the Loch Avon basin. This coincided with a lovely sunny spell and was a good route choice as our options would have become a little limited had we battled to the top of Cairn Gorm.

Unfortunately, a snow shower ended our lunch break prematurely, so we headed back up to the plateau via the Altt Coire Raibeirt. In its upper quarters it had been impressively banked out and it became a pristinely white arena with a distinct Artic atmosphere, as the weak sunlight filtered through the intermittent cloud cover. The stinging spin drift encouraged us not to linger though.

Heading across the plateau

The changing conditions and details of the weather as it affected us fascinated me. On our descent of the Fiacail a’ Choire Cas, we observed an impressive cornice which had been building up from the transported snow. Also, simple things such as crampons balling up and riming on clothing with the oscillating freezing level were intriguing.

The Northern Cairngorms in magnificent winter form

Tomorrow I hope to visit an new area, but with the current conditions no where can fail to impress.

A good day out


3 Responses to Changing Conditions

  1. Alistair says:

    They really are a special area in winter. Next time you’re stuck at your desk all day, you’ll remember your day at Loch Avon! That’s what life’s for.

  2. R. Sagar says:

    Is this a quality mountain day? Looks like too much fun to me.

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