Quiet New Year at Creag Meagaidh.

1st January 2021

(Above) Lochan a Choire and the crags of Pinnacle Buttress and the Post Face in upper Coire Ardair. Flat light aplenty at a quiet Creag Meagaidh today. Poor visibility for most of the day above 750m. Reasonable cover of snow, including on the main path which was a bit of a pain.


(Above) New Year’s Day Loony Dookers notable by their absence in Lochan a Choire! (I was forewarned of this since I had to break trail all the way up main path to the loch. Woe is me!)


(Above) Lifted from yesterday’s BBC News website. ‘Loony Dooker’ Alice Goodridge (breaking another sort of trail) in Loch Insh, which is just down the road from where I live. I think I understand ‘Wild Swimming’ since it’s what we used to do as kids in local rivers and lochs/lakes etc. but was never a ‘thing’ which is what it’s become nowadays. But I don’t yet fully grasp the appeal of Scottish winter Wild Swimming. My neighbour, a sometime employee at Glenmore Lodge who also swims in Loch Insh every day, says it’s like Scottish winter mountaineering…but with added wetness. Ah, just a different form of masochism! It’s all beginning to make sense now…


(Above) Brightened up from the west later in the afternoon. I think the SAIS Glencoe blog has quite a smattering of blue in its photographs today.  The view west along Loch Laggan last thing.


(Above) A view of Sron a Ghoire’s east aspects. There’s quite deep snow (drifts) above 900m on most aspects. The cover is reasonable at lower altitudes and quite moist/icy below 400m especially where there’s been compaction by foot traffic.

Comments on this post

  • Stan Wygladala
    2nd January 2021 12:47 am

    Despite swims in the Irish Sea as late as in Oct I could never survive Grasmere even in August. How anyone could possibly break the ice in a Scottish high altitude water is totally beyond my understanding. However, I did survive minus 20 degree in Craig Megadeath ( as we called it) wearing only a Buffalo Top and Patagonia drop seat pants. I was f**cling frozen regardless but enjoyed some back at the car park with minestrone soup and thick bread!
    Sorry, I think that the Jura 10 years old vintage is working it’s spell.
    Happy New Year to all of you and yours
    And let’s hope 2021 is better than last year.

    • meagaidhadmin
      2nd January 2021 8:24 am

      Made me chuckle, Stan!

      I have seen the occasional wild swimmer braving a dip in Lochan a Choire during the winter months but they are rare, however I have met many others who claimed to have swum there during the winter!

      What you don’t see behind the camera in the BBC photo is the Loch Insh Watersports boat house just 25m away complete with underfloor heating in the changing room and hot showers. Swimming in Lochan a Choire is a completely different proposition since the nearest form of mechanical heating is the feeble hot air hand dryer in the Aberarder Farmhouse toilets some 5.5 very cold and quite strenuous kilometres away.

  • Steven Cham
    2nd January 2021 3:17 pm

    Hi, Happy New Year to all at SAIS, you all doing a fantastic jobs, should be honoured by The Queen for your services. Wild swimming is crazy but as far as l know, according to scientists, is good for your health, l tried few times with highlandopenwaterswim, swimming in open sea, wow! Really enjoyed it, recommend everyone should try it.

    • meagaidhadmin
      2nd January 2021 7:09 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Steven.

      My neighbour claims that swimming in cold water eases her sciatica. As a fellow bad back sufferer I have to say that the mere thought of just dipping my bare foot into some remote loch in December is enough to induce back spasms!

      I know plenty of people swear by it though.

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