Beinn a Chaorainn

21st January 2017

(Above) The east ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn (far skyline). Looking like a rock scramble from this aspect, though there’s probably at least a little snow on the northern flank of the ridge.


(Above) The east-facing side of Beinn a Chaorainn is divided into four unnamed broad coires. The shot above is of the third one when counting from north to south. Patchy coverage.


(Above) Great views today. An unusual vista of the Creag Meagaidh massif – viewed from Beinn a Chaorainn – with some of its significant features marked. Almost devoid of snow, of course.


(Above) Coire nan Laogh. One of the more remote locations on our patch and infrequently visited. Stumbled into the wet peat hags at the top end of this coire one misty summer’s day when out hillwalking. A most disagreeable experience!


(Above) Firm or frozen old snow in most places today. A few residual cornices still overhang Beinn a Chaorainnn’s steep east-facing coires.


(Above) The view south west towards Loch Trieg (Loch Laggan, its dam and the A86 at the bottom left of shot.)


(Above) Looking west towards Aonach Mor (with its back bowls) and Ben Nevis – left centre skyline.


(Above) The mystery of the Beinn a Chaorainn “standing stone”. Noticed this on the descent.


(Above) No other clues needed to see how it came about; the local stratigraphy provides the answer.


(Above) Shaded areas stayed frozen all day. This icy lochan is at 550m and the picture taken at 2pm. Even frosty in the shade of the trees down by the A86 (at 270m) later.


Comments on this post

  • Stan Wygladala
    22nd January 2017 11:54 am

    Really great photos. I’ve never seen so little snow all across Scotland at this time of the year!
    In the 1960’s and 70’s there was often far too much unconsolidated snow at this time to allow for much climbing. First week of March was usually the prime time as everything had firmed up.
    Forecast still not good(?).

    • meagaidhadmin
      22nd January 2017 3:27 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments, Stan.

      ‘Green’ Januarys seem to have become more frequent in the Scottish Highlands since the 1990s. The ’60s & ’70s certainly appeared to have had colder/snowier winters on average. 1963 and 1977 were particularly wintry years and are stand-out examples in much the same way as the winter of ’09/’10 was. However, the trend is for milder temperatures but also for more extreme events. Let’s not abandon hope for this winter just yet though as a lot can happen between now and March.

      We had a very good (and really very worrying) presentation on global warming from the Met Office at our pre-season training in December. Needless to say, the projected effects on the UK climate and weather were sobering. Occasional very cold/snowy winters are likely to happen again but the trend is for milder winters with much more variability in precipitation type, quantity, and air temperatures – something that (anecdotally) has been noticeable in the past few winters here in the Scottish Highlands. Oh, and did I mention an increased frequency of extreme weather events?

      Looking ahead a few days, the forecast is for windier, wetter weather with a little hill snow. Unfortunately, nothing very special, Stan.

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