Your coldest day?
by litljortindan » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:06 pm
I haven't done a lot of winter walking but three exceptionally cold days that stand out:
Ben Mor Coigach: didn't feel the cold too much during the walk but at the start I was caught out with only having light trousers on one of the two coldest mornings I've experienced. I got an ache in my knee afterwards that lasted for months though the GP said its unlikely to have been related. I'm not so sure though.
Glas Bheinn Mhor on Skye: on this walk no problems for the first half but it was the tail end of the beast from the east and forecast minus fifteen windchill. With my right glove off to take photos my hand was numb in a couple of seconds each time. I've had problems since then that I associate with that day but, again, the GP said not likely related. Now if it is a bit cold my right hand feels really cold and my left hand reasonably warm. At the summit I was aware that I was slowing down mentally. I did recover form that though, I'd like to think.
Glas Maol: pre-dawn and half way up I got really cold despite five layers of clothing and two pairs of trousers. Forecast was for minus six but it was definitely the coldest my torso ever felt on a hill. Wind felt like it was going right through me.
by JonetCol » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:11 pm
I was reasonably well wrapped up, but my hands were numb and felt as if someone had hammered nails into my cheekbones. I dread to think wat it would have been like camping.
The next morning was very cold early on, but the worst of the frost cleared by midday under a bright sun.
by Alteknacker » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:34 pm
The subjectively coldest day I can remember was .... south of the border! .... walking a Skiddaw round in February.
The Met Office forecast was for - 6 degrees, "feels like" temperature taking account of the wind, - 15 degrees.
Well, I've experienced temperatures a fair bit lower than that with no wind ( - 18 at least), and it didn't feel anywhere near as cold as that day: towards the end of the walk I'd couldn't feel my face at all, in spite of shielding it from the wind with my hands.
But I reckon folk with have experienced much more dramatic stuff in the Cairngorms....
by CharlesT » Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:11 pm
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:43 pm
Curiously it was also the trip on which I experienced hottest temperatures I’ve experienced, 44 celsius.
by Mal Grey » Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:19 pm
The coldest I've felt have been those days where the snow is really sleet, blowing wetly into your face, the temperature hovering a few degrees above freezing, and the wind howling.
Glen Pean, my first winter bothy, was one of the coldest experiences of my life. It was -15c in the glen outside, and the sealed western end was full, so 3 of us huddled in the old "barn" like east end (I believe that's been improved) in front of a truly poor fire, with our mini bottles of wine shoved down our trousers to try and warm them enough to drink!
Lairig Leacach was another cold bothy, the floor didn't melt until our second night there, despite the stove, when we finally got the room to 4 decrees C, at which point the mice came out. Had the gear then, so we weren't cold. Well, not too cold.
The coldest I've ever been on a mountain was, ironically, in Morocco on a night-time ascent of Jbel Toubkal in September 2002. It was about -15c and the only time I've walked uphill on a mountain whilst wearing a down jacket. As soon as the sun rose, over the Sahara, the heat rose rapidly on the summit. By the time we got down to the valley in the afternoon, it was +32c.
The coldest my feet have ever been was after a wash in the stream by Bearnais Bothy one winter. Flippin' heck,, that hurt as the blood returned once inside in front of the stove.
by arjh » Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:07 am
Coldest night out was a wild camp in one of the eastern corries of Beinn Bhan near Applecross (Coire an Fhamair) - brought my smaller sleeping bag to save space - never again...
by apollo0815 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:10 am
It wasn't that cold at all, 5 degrees celsius, but paired with heavy winds and a slight, but constant drizzle.
We went to the first shooting range at 3 a.m. and spent nearly 24 hours outside, constant weather, with a lot of waiting an standing around.
When we came in again next day at 2.a.m. even with a shower and slipping into bed,l I did not really get warm for hours.
I have never again felt so cold. My joints(19 years old back then) were literally creaking.
by Giant Stoneater » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:27 am
- Giant Stoneater
- Posts: 701
- Joined: Aug 2, 2014
by Caberfeidh » Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:14 am
- Katabatic wind blasting the ground outside Bob Scott's.
- Sinclair Hut, Lairig Ghru.
- Bob Scott's icicles.
- Bothy Fire
- Posts: 7661
- Joined: Feb 5, 2009
by CharlesT » Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:53 am
We had on old minivan in those days, which I can recall got us through piled up snow and icy roads without incident. Oh to be young. And the ice climbing was great that year, even if the kit was dodgy and downright dangerous. Still have my wooden hafted Simond Special D ice axe from then, all of 30 bob secondhand.(That's £1.50 in new money). Happy days.
by Caberfeidh » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:35 pm
CharlesT wrote:... And the ice climbing was great that year, even if the kit was dodgy and downright dangerous. Still have my wooden hafted Simond Special D ice axe from then, all of 30 bob secondhand.(That's £1.50 in new money). Happy days.
I have an excellent old wooden alpenstock, much longer than any modern ice axe available today, but after hearing Hamish MacInnes describing how, after the development of the all-metal ice axe, deaths and injuries from ice axe breakages dwindled to nothing, whereas they used to make up a sizeable proportion of rescue team call-outs, I'll just use it as a glorified walking stick on gentler slopes.
- Posts: 7661
- Joined: Feb 5, 2009
by denfinella » Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:09 am
I came up from England for just a few days, visiting my partner who was studying at Aberdeen Uni. Time was scarce (I was also fitting the trip in between my own university commitments), and we therefore only had a single day to get away from lectures and classes. As a keen (English, summer) walker and occasional Alpine skier I persuaded him to go exploring up Deeside. He was more of a city person at that point, and the furthest he'd been in Scotland before that was the obligatory student trip to Stonehaven by train.
It was a perfect winter's day with fresh snow on the ground and sunshine overhead, and bitterly cold. First we stopped at the Falls of Feugh outside Banchory, where the car thermometer read -10°C and my hands were numb inside my inadequate "fine-for-London" gloves. The car park was full of light powder snow and we nearly got stuck - having never driven on snow before.
Next we visited the Burn o' Vat, where the waterfall had frozen, there were spectacular icicles hanging from the rocky walls and amazing ice sculptures on the floor formed by water droplets freezing as they hit the ground - one looked exactly like a tortoise.
After that we stopped at Cambus o' May. I remember standing in the middle of the bridge gawping at the wide River Dee, which was not only completely frozen but the ice and snow was so thick it looked like there were icebergs on it.
Following a quick stop in Braemar, we finished the day with a drive up to Glenshee Ski Centre, which was enjoying the sort of conditions which only come around once or twice a season. There was so much consolidated snow that Carn Aosda had developed decent-sized moguls. Sadly it wasn't worth buying a lift ticket for the last hour of the day, but I was sorely tempted!
(We then drove back to Aberdeen via the "scenic" Perthshire side of the pass, which was a massive waste of time and petrol as it was pretty much dark by that time )
I came away from that day with a totally romanticised and inaccurate perception of what Scotland was like, but it made me fall in love with the country. As soon as I graduated I moved to Aberdeen and we've been in Scotland ever since.
by Tringa » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:51 am
Me and daughter decided to do a walk into the Beinn Eighe corrie.
It was sleeting in the car park but that cleared quickly. The walk up was large good with the odd couple of minutes of wettish snow which became more solid closer to the corrie After lunch in the corrie and ambling about for a bit we headed back down.
In a short time the temperature had dropped and the snow we crunched through on the way up was starting to ice up, it was snowing more but the strong wind coming up between Liathach and Beinn Eighe was straight in our faces and bitter.
Fortunately only a short exposure but it was cold.
- Posts: 211
- Joined: Sep 2, 2008
- Location: London
by maxie23 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 4:52 pm
There was a North wind on that day and on the top according to my anemometer ( I love gadgets ) it was blowing at a steady 25 mph with occasional gusts up to 40 mph.
I didn't take many photos, I was apprehensive about taking my gloves off.
I remember seeing a story in one of the local papers about a young lad who was on top of Ben Chonzie on the same day and there was a photo of his face with a spot of mild frostbite on one of his cheeks.
In January 2019 I was up An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin on separate days.
Both mornings the temperature gauge in the car was showing -7 or -8.
It was a bit breezy up top on both hills, nice if you found a sheltered spot but bitterly cold in the exposed places.
An Caisteal from Beinn a Chroin by robert irvine, on Flickr
An Caisteal by robert irvine, on Flickr
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?