Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

Best way to spend your 30th

Best way to spend your 30th

Postby littlemrs29 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:27 am

Munros included on this walk: Càrn Aosda, The Cairnwell

Date walked: 29/12/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I haven't been out in a while thanks to a busy spell at work that had me travelling up and down to England the last few months, so when my partner asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday it was an easy answer for me (and a sign of my age now?).

We checked the weather and knew it would be best to stick to the east if possible, still wouldn't miss the wind but we've done winter climbs before so knew it would be cold. Bags were packed ready the night before and a stop at the local Tiso would ensure we had our map (not making that mistake again!) I had also downloaded viewranger for my phone as I wanted to track our route so tried that out - but not to much success :?

We got there a little late - as organised as we might be we are guaranteed to be late for everything, it's just us. There wasn't much ski-ing going on in Glenshee so there were no skiers to avoid, a couple of sledges though which looked fun.

We headed for Carn Aosda first and the weather was fine until we got to the junction and then Oh My Gosh - I may have lived in Scotland for 30 years but never have I experienced wind and snow like that! It was just so strong - blowing all the snow up my face so I couldn't breath - I decided then and there my next wish list would include ski goggles and and a proper balaclava. We stood for a good minute just clinging to each other asking 'why are we doing this again?' - nothing brings you closer than gale force winds combined with snow on a hill side ha ha. We went right at the junction and ended up at a sign telling us that Carn Aosda was behind us. So back we went and carried on further down the track. The blizzard cleared and we stopped to consult the map and view ranger. Turns out we had circled the summit of Carn Aosda and then come away too far, so back we went and finally reached the top.
Me at the cairn

View from Summit 1

Onwards and upwards

We headed over to Carn a'gheoidh as the intention was to do the Cairnwell 3, you can see in one of the pictures we had printed off the walking guide from this site to help guide us :D About twenty minutes after the last storm had passed another one arrived and this one was just as bad. I couldn't see where we were going and it had got to the good old stage of 2 steps forward, 1 and a half steps back. For a brief moment we did consider turning back, we had managed one - albeit a very easy one really even in that weather so was it worth it to carry on? Well obviously yes as the storms were passing and when it cleared the views were undeniably worth it! So out with the compasses and onwards we went. By the time we got to Carn nan Sac my partner made a call - it was either going to be Carn a'gheoidh or The Cairnwell. We didn't want to risk still being up there in the dark and our water had frozen in the first hour. So we dived down the side of the cairn to get out of the wind and have a cuppa before starting over to The Cairnwell.
Second 'summit' of the day (at a break in the weather)

View from underneath the cairn

Looking outwards

We managed to back track to the path going up and as we got there, yup you guessed it, another 'white out' such fun!
At least we could still see the fence at this point

I'm not going to lie, it was a struggle up to the summit - the winds seemed to be even stronger now and I was well aware if it got hold of me and carried me off it wasn't going to end pleasantly! The towering transmitters also petrified me as I was convinced a bit of them would fly off and hit me. I came very, very close to almost crawling up the last little bit and had adopted a rather questionable pose when trying to brace against the wind (my partner called it my bear grylls pose ha ha). At the top we quickly jumped in to the shelter and even though I use that word loosely as snow was constantly swirling around in there it still shielded us enough for another cuppa.
In the shelter catching my breath

At the top

Beginning to lose the light

Coming back down - I don't know how I did it. At one point my partner was trying to pull me towards him but the wind was so strong he couldn't move me. At another I must have been blown backwards at least 10 feet (possible exaggeration there but it's my birthday, that's allowed :lol: ) Once off the top little bit all was good though - (except for my face which was shockingly wind beaten and remained red much into the next day) We retraced our steps - which couldn't be seen of course - back to the ski lifts and then headed downwards, cursing ourselves for not bringing sledges. I think I fell at least 6 times on the way down but I just see that as getting down faster, especially as I would end up rolling a good few yards every time!

We got down in time for a hot drink at the cafe and after we defrosted we headed home. It may not be the way everyone wants to spend their 30th but at least I will always remember mine and accomplished something :D Next stop is the sales to buy some goggles, ski masks and a flask that won't let water freeze as he's now promised me a walk on the 1st!
Mountain Walker
Posts: 26
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Sep 26, 2011

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby Tomsie » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:29 am

Sounds like ye had a tough walk with the wind, hope the weathers a bit better on the 1st
User avatar
Posts: 1162
Munros:129   Corbetts:62
Grahams:38   Donalds:33
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:5
Joined: Jan 8, 2011

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby iainwatson » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:40 am

well done for getting out at this time of year in obstrutive weather :D
its always good to be out on the hills 8)
User avatar
Posts: 812
Munros:281   Corbetts:20
Grahams:5   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:3
Joined: Jun 28, 2010
Location: glasgow

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby RicKamila » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:41 am

I spent my 30th birthday out and about today as well. Not nearly as exciting as where you were though, but still very enjoyable. Happy Birthday!!
User avatar
Posts: 2358
Munros:5   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Jul 17, 2010
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby quoman » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:16 pm

Hi Littlemrs29
Yes the pic's never show how strong the wind gets,still go to get out and about though.
User avatar
Posts: 960
Munros:282   Corbetts:10
Grahams:1   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Nov 14, 2011
Location: larbert

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby pollyh33 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:21 pm

Great report in icy, dicey conditions :thumbup:

Happy Birthday! X
User avatar
Posts: 2577
Munros:282   Corbetts:18
Grahams:5   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Location: Rutherglen

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby Fudgie » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:43 pm

Although it was quite windy, at least you go some views to take in as well. I spent my 30th birthday in September in a pub or two :D
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 997
Munros:100   Corbetts:20
Grahams:3   Donalds:7
Joined: Aug 30, 2010
Location: Port Glasgow

Re: Best way to spend your 30th

Postby kevsbald » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:50 pm

Splendiforous effort - and a happy birthday ye oldie!
User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2183
Munros:265   Corbetts:122
Grahams:76   Donalds:51
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:9
Joined: Jan 15, 2009
Location: Glasgow

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Backpacker, emmajay1403, joannehall97, ochilbhoy, Shrink Proof and 59 guests