I'm the human equivalent of a dowsing rod. If the sun is out for a few hours, it's guaranteed I'll find the only pocket of precipitation within a hundred miles. The 22nd was no exception.
I'd been saving Creag Dubh for a winter half-day, as 5 kilometres didn't seem to be too strenuous even if most of it was virtually straight up. When driving to the hill, I could see the mist along the ridge and after a quick conversation with Canna, we both agreed it would clear, if only for ten minutes at a time.
We parked at Lochan Ulvie and the first drizzle shower started before we reached the gate. As I wear spectacles (I only really need them for seeing ) it cuts down the visibility and this is where I am going to lay the blame for taking the wrong path and ending up at the boulder field at the bottom of the cliff. A quick shufty at the map and I headed over to the right and followed the wire fence up the steep slope. When the fence ended I picked up a deer track which headed back to the left to reach the lowest part of the ridge. The view improves as height is gained and you do feel like you're much higher up than the map would suggest. Once on the ridge, the mist rushed to greet us like a long lost friend but the path was always in view to keep us on the hill. The first fence wasn't dog friendly so I had to lift Canna over and the second one had a hole to the side of the stile. Neither of the stiles were great in the wet. The first fence I stepped over but it was slightly higher on the other side and I now have a better chance of singing soprano at the next André Rieu concert than I did before I left. The snow showers started about 600 metres up but it was still easy hiking without crampons and the cairn looked like it was dusted with icing sugar. I'd love to regale now with tales of the view along the Spey Valley or to the Drumochter Munros, but with the mist and the snow we could only see each other. We returned by the same route as I didn't fancy walking Canna back along the road, On the way down we encountered three brave souls on the way up and it was the only other people we saw all day. A little gem of a hill even if the views were restricted!
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.