‘Here be dragons’

3rd January 2019

Slightly frustrated by the low cloud that is enveloping our part of the Highlands at the moment. Ventured up to Beinn a Chlachair today hoping to get a great view from its summit plateau over to the Creag Meagaidh massif. No such luck! Reasonable visibility below the 800-900m cloud base but above that, visibility all but disappears.

(Above) ‘Here be dragons’. (Loch a Bhealaich Leamhain nearest with Loch Pattack in the far distance. Viewed from Bealach Leamhain). Recently each of the six SAIS areas were requested to delineate the boundaries of their particular patches and this particular bealach may form part of our south eastern border. (Next stop Ben Alder, the Drumochter Pass and all stops to the steaming fleshpots of Perthshire.) This mapping exercise is still a work in progress, and we’re a bit undecided, but it’s looking likely that this bealach will form part of SAIS Creag Meagaidh’s boundary.

Great walking pretty much anywhere at the moment since much of the ground at high level is frozen and dry. Ice afflicts a few footpaths but it’s pretty easy to outflank.


(Above) 850m. ‘Here be snow’. Notable by its absence in most places at present but there are larger patches in a few locations above 900m.


(Above) Beinn a Chaorainn. Its upper reaches shrouded in cloud but it too is mostly snow-free.


(Above) A peek into the lower Moy Coire, with the Moy Burn visible. The rocky ridge (which rises to 950m in the shot) is a pretty much bang-on East aspect and normally carries a lot of snow, as well as sizeable cornices.


(Above) Looking towards Meall Coire Choile Rais 1027m and the glen of Coire Choile Rais. Cheer up, all is not lost. The hills may be snow-free but there’s plenty of outdoor sport available. Came across this chap on a mountain bike loaded up with bivi gear who was en route to Fort Augustus from a nearby bothy. All off road, his route is via the forestry tracks along Loch Laggan and beyond, thence into the upper Spey and over the Corrieyairack Pass. If you don’t mind the cold, and with a little imagination and careful planning, there’s still a lot of adventurous stuff you can do in the Scottish Highlands.

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