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Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:39 pm
by Beaner001
First walk of the year, noticing a post on Talk Highlands on Thursday evening of superb weather over the weekend i just had to get out and get back on the score sheet. I did not want to travel too far and was a little worried about avalanche with the dogs so i went for the two Drumochter based hills i had not already done.

The hills in this area are etched in my memories, i spent many a school holiday up at my Granda's brothers (my Uncle Jonnie's) at Etteridge Farm just a few miles north along the A9. Here i learnt how to handle sheep and farm dogs as my Granda and his brother were both shepherds. One of my dogs Roy is actually named after my Granda's best sheep dog Roy, whom still used to herd sheep even into old age and blindness. I used to go out and collect the eggs from the chickens and Isobel used to be the best home cook. I feel the days are now gone when we used to go up and before you were even in the door a dram was offered, these traditions do not happen the same with the new generations.

I was looking forward to getting views of the majestic Ben Alder (or Granda's hill as we always called it) as he used to drive the toffs up Loch Ericht in the boat to hunt deer at the far end. The conditions would have been great for his brother, a Lovat Scout during WWII, he perfected the art of Skiing in Canada for operations but ended up spending most of the war in Italy, Granda ended up in Africa with the RAF as his engineering skills were needed during the two battles of El Alamein. neither spoke much of the war, their hearts were in Scotland where they luckily both returned to carve out long lives off the wild land of the area.

I parked in layby 87 and set off over the road and up the track. The snow was really deep in sections and took it out of me.

Track up past the quarry

Looking into the Gorms, Cairn Toul's recognizable flat top in middle

Wonderful light, Iphone is a great camera in good light

Dogs in their element

Once up at the T Junction i went right first towards A'Bhuidheanach Beag. I tried to follow some tracks in the snow from some sort of snow mobile but was breaking through the thin crust which caused me problems.

Drumochter 4 and Alder behind

Trying to follow the snow mobile tracks

Over to Carn na Caim

Eventually got to the summit trig and was quickly met by some ski tourers, what a way to experience these hills.

Beag summit trig, snow coming half way up

Heading uphill to Carn na Caim

Tracks everywhere looking back to Beag

Off next to Carn na Caim, found this tough going in the sections of soft snow but it felt great on the frozen sections, this would be a relatively easy walk in good dry conditions with the only problems being the navigation if in mist.

Alder from Carn na Caim summit

Had awesome views from Carn na Caim summit, especially into Ben Alder, i cannot wait to do this mountain although my thinking is a bike will be needed, potentially this summer or next i hope.

Dogs eye view from Carn na Caim summit

Back over to Beag

Alder and co

and again

and again

The majestic Ben Alder

A wonderful day, full of great memories.

Legs are still killing me today but managed nonetheless, although could have done with snow shoes :lol:

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:42 pm
by rockhopper
great day to be up there and a good way to kick off 2016 - know what you mean about snow shoes though - cheers :)

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:59 pm
by jupe1407
Very nice Beaner. I was up there a couple of weeks back, but got no views and bailed after Carn na Caim. I just couldn't be bothered with another couple of miles worth of soft, deep snow :lol:

It also fair collects in the that quarry track.

Like you, I spent much of my walk on Saturday staring at Ben Alder. One for my list in the summer as well, once i've acquired a MTB

Cheers, enjoyed that :D

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:50 pm
by martin.h
Hi Matt, good to see you've managed to get out at last and the weather god was kind to you.
I bet Roy and Lochy were unstoppable, they'll have enjoyed being in wide open spaces again.
The mountains look great with the snow on them, something we haven't had much of down here, even in the Lakes.
We plan to have a go at these two when we have our first trip up north at Easter, it would be great if were to have conditions like you had.
Great photo's. :D

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:07 pm
by litljortindan
Cracking picture of your grand dad's hill and interesting to read about Roy's ancestor. Don't know too much about him but my grandfather was gamekeeper at an estate on or near Criffel which at least makes me imagine my ancestor walking the same hill.

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:52 pm
by Collaciotach
superb pics :clap: :clap:

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:11 pm
by The Rodmiester
That looked a pretty perfect day for doing these two Matt, more days of the same please.

Re: Could have done with Snow Shoes

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:40 pm
by Fife Flyer
Nice one Matt, appreciate how difficult it is in those sort of conditions :wink:
Love the shots of Alder :clap: