Ben Alder: in search of snow.

22nd February 2019

Today’s work day required a little more planning than the usual ‘back of a fag packet’ whilst sat at the breakfast table. Bike had been prepped the night before, batteries of various gadgets fully charged and a different OS map packed in the rucsac. You always know you’re going to have a interesting day when you reach for anything other than the usual Creag Meagaidh map!

Ben Alder is an outlier on SAIS Creag Meagaidh’s boundary and not often visited during normal full-on winter days. With the snowpack now stable and in full retreat at ‘Meggie it seemed like a good opportunity to scope out the snow cover at the outer reaches of our parish. Ben Alder it was then.

Parked near Dalwhinnie station and blitzed along the excellent track up past Ben Alder Lodge, skirted Loch Pattack, finally making it to Culra Bothy three quarters an hour later. Slight headwind but no biggie.

(Above) Looking towards Ben Alder (left) and Lancet Edge up in the mist to the right. Culra Bothy in foreground. Visibility was OK down low in the morning with the cloudbase down to around 900m.


(Above) The Long Leachas ridge of Ben Alder looming out of the mist whilst en route to Bealach Dubh.


(Above) The final approach to the Bealach Dubh on the excellent, well made track. In a normal winter the path here often completely disappears under a blanket of deep snow. Trainers and shorts would not have been inappropriate today though.


(Above) Looking back NE towards Culra from the bealach. Ben Alder to the right.


(Above) The view SW towards Loch Ossian from the bealach. Wreckage from a WW2 air crash nearest the camera. Heavy Whalley (ex-RAF MRT) has visited many of these old crash sites and posted about this one, here:


(Above) Ben Alder’s NE flank showing snow patches above 850 to 900m – about the same amount/distribution as over at Creag Meagaidh. All in full melt mode at the moment.


(Above) Another view, with less mist, of the Long Leachas ridge with Coire na Lethchois to its left. Culra bothy in the foreground. (Culra Bothy is closed, and has been for some time, due to the presence of asbestos in the structure.)


(Above) Lancet Edge – the upper most part of the ridge – with old snow on its NE flank.

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