24th January 2018
(Above) Coire Dubh this afternoon. Stormy day with strong winds and violent gusts at times. Snow drifting above 800m for most of the morning after a brief pre-dawn temperature spike. Drifting but with strong counter winds in sheltered areas resulting in sporadic lee slope scouring.
(Above) A not very good shot of the southern half of Beinn a Chaorainn showing one of its very broad East-facing scarp slopes. Despite the recent meltdown there’s still a fairly decent snow cover in lee areas, especially above 750m.
(Above) Sron a Ghoire viewed from the Creag Meagaidh car park. More mottled below 750m – bottom third of the photo. Colder and wintry up high later today. Spotted 3 long wheelbase minibuses in the car park disgorging a posse of men with very large rucsacs. The first snow-holers of the season perhaps?
Sought refuge from the ferocious wind in Coire Choile Rais but was still blown over a couple of times by dramatic gusts. A melt-down plus rainfall going on down low.
(Above) The A86 was awash with rain and meltwater in places first thing.
(Above) Nearer home. Ruthven Barracks close to Kingussie, set against the backdrop of the Monadliath Mtns. Seems to have acquired a moat. A rather large one. Huge amount of meltwater run-off recently.
(Above) The Insh Marshes in Badenoch. (Badenoch: translation – ‘the drowned lands’). Appropriately named.Â My normally land-locked small village acquires loch frontage for a week or so every year, often during winter but occasionally in summer, too.
(Above) The boys down at the Kingussie shinty club will not be best pleased. (For the uninitiated out there, shinty is a ‘sport’ where groups of Highland men fight each other armed with wooden clubs, though they are occasionally distracted by the presence of a leather ball.)
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24th January 2018 9:09 pm
Concerning photo 3: Nope, first (?) snow hole-ers were a week last Monday, the 15th. Perhaps if we had seen your Met Office forecast for that day instead of MWIS we might have made a different choice. Indeed there was a lot of snowfall, building a 2m cornice above our hole (shift work clearing throughout the night necessary). But we survived in good order, if rather chastened. Before escaping I was trying to remember if you’d ever posted a photo of a new slab avalanche on the slope to the Window, but in the end it was quite safe, just rather deep in parts! I guess there’s only a little bit that is just 30 degrees.
25th January 2018 12:05 am
Many thanks for your comment and for correcting our error, Roger.
Re. MWIS. We always have a look at the MWIS forecast and use it alongside the dedicated one we get from the Met Office for our area. Geoff Monk’s MWIS version seems to convey a better idea of what sort of day you’re going to have compared to the Met’s stark but generally very accurate bar chart & line graphs. The MWIS forecast adds ‘texture’ which we find very useful.
Somewhere there is a photo of a dry slab avalanche on the approach to The Window. A party triggered a slide there in November a few years ago, a month or so before the formal start to the SAIS winter season. I’ll see if I can find it.
25th January 2018 8:26 pm
Thanks, I didn’t mean to imply criticism of mwis. I use it all the time. I think it may be that they tend to concentrate on daytime, with less detail on night. The heavy snow didn’t start til after dusk. Certainly the bar graph you showed was pretty accurate. Interesting to see it all happen on site as it were! I didn’t know cornices could build up so rapidly (about 2m overnight, it was a rounded drift with a very slight lip when we arrived, seemed ideal for a hole) and that they collapse periodically while they build. And I didn’t expect all that to happen at the back of the Window! We live and learn.