La misère humaine

15th February 2020

Hell hath no fury like a bad, wet winter day at Creag Meagaidh. Storm Dennis added some extra zest to the occluded front we had running in off the Atlantic today, giving ‘The Full Scottish’ but with extra wetness. The roads in our area were awash with rainfall & snow melt, and deteriorated further later. Not quite as much snowfall as anticipated, just sleety stuff over summits turning to rain later but with heavy, driving rain at lower altitudes. And, boy, did it rain.

As you might imagine, hill conditions were poor with wet snow at most levels. Noticeable snow loss down low, too, by the afternoon.

Route choice for today’s perambulation was dictated be the desire to avoid wading through deep wet snow to get to reasonable altitude. A ridge, perhaps? The Creag Mhor ridge, which bounds the east side of Coire Choille Rais, fitted the bill and turned out to be a reasonable choice.


(Above) Snow cover in Coire Choille Rais. Lochan Coire Choille Rais, a blog favourite, is just behind a prominent pile of moraine on the skyline in the top left corner of the photo. The burn in the shot delineates the snow holding east-facing slopes from the wind-exposed ones on the right, or west-facing. Big difference in snow cover. Disturbed a deer which bolted and floundered in the deep wet snow whilst trying (in vain) to traverse quickly across the left side of the photo.


(Above) The Creag Mhor ridge is a broad rambling affair and it’s vague crest is marked by some old iron fence posts, as well as the remnants of a tumbled-down wall. 900m here with very wet older snow everywhere. Today’s formal observations were in what we call Carrie’s Gully, which is a steep East-facing indentation in the ridge. It’s named after Ewen Todd’s partner when he was the lead forecaster at SAIS Creag Meagaidh back in the late 1990s.


(Above) The location of the top of Carrie’s Gully (*) on the Creag Mhor ridge and the site of today’s formal snow observations. The gully is often choked with snow and occasionally used as a snow holing site.


(Above) Looking down SW to the forests beside the A86 and the reservoir part of Loch Laggan. Part of the relatively snow-free broad Creag Mhor ridge is on the left.

Looking really wintry overnight and right through Sunday. Much colder and nearly 27cm of snowfall for our area in our Met Office forecast.

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