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Winter Wonder Land - the best walk I never finished

Winter Wonder Land - the best walk I never finished


Postby Michael Cook » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:35 pm

Route description: Gairich, Loch Quoich

Munros included on this walk: Gairich

Date walked: 10/01/2010

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 700m

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It is funny how some of the days that don't turn out as you plan them end up being the best kind of days. This walk was like one of those. Whilst we never made it to the summit of this hill it will still be remembered as one of my best winter walks. Even the drive to the start was an adventure with trees bent down with snow over the road and several inches of snow to navigate. This meant we were late to the start which was one of the main reasons we ran out of time. That and the fact that we were wading through snow at times on the walk in. All was worth it because the combination of high pressure, cold temperatures and plenty of snow made it a real winter wonderland!

Setting off from the car with the temperature measuing -12 deg C, but no wind, it felt like it was going to be a special day.
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The drive in was as much of a challenge as the walk

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Striking out from the car, it was -12 Degrees C when we left the car


All the trees were clad in snow and everything looked so fragile. By the time we could see Gairich it was nice to compose a shot with both the trees and the mountain we were headed for.
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Winter shrouded trees with Gairich in the background


We took time out to check out this frozen waterfall. My friend Neil posed for the shot to give it scale.
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Frozen waterfall


Crossing the Dam was fun with snow drifts to cross. The snow on the wall was 4-5 inches thick.
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Wading thru snow across the Dam

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Snow on wall of Dam


It was slow going walking to the foot of Gairich itself, partly because the snow was deep in places (at times wading) and partly because the light was so stunning we kept stopping to take pictures.
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Frozen bush with Gairich behind

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Barbed wire fence

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Snow covered grass


There was hardly any sign of this frozen stream until we were right on it. It would have been easy to wander onto the ice.
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Frozen river beck


Once we got a bit higher up the wind had blown the snow into drifts which mostly we could avoid so the going was a bit quicker. By this point we were quite a bit behind time. Note the animals footprints beside mine.
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Wasn't too much snow higher up


Nearing the top the snow was still fairly deep and a bit slippery. No need for crampons just kicking good steps. That said it was getting a bit steep and exposed and still powdery giving way a bit. I have done much worse than this in terms of exposure but the cold and snow and lack of day light left meant I had definately had enough by this point. These two pictures were from our turning back point.
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Final scramble nearer summit

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It was cold and I needed all my layers to keep warm


By the time we got back to the car it was dusk and darkening fast. I wouldn't have fancied our chances if we were benighted in these temperatures. All in all a very rewarding day which was partly the reason why we didn't summit. There were so many points of interest along the way that we simply ran out of time. Many good memories once again. A good day in winter on the Scottish hills is hard to beat!
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Getting dark before we finished
Last edited by Michael Cook on Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Michael Cook
 
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Re: Gairich - the best munro I never summited

Postby Alastair S » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:12 pm

Makes me restless for the return to winter :D Loved the photo of the frozen waterfall & the one above it.
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Re: Gairich - the best munro I never summited

Postby rocket-ron » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:52 pm

am surprised you even got the car that far. With the winter we had
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Re: Gairich - the best munro I never summited

Postby mountain coward » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:42 am

I'm amazed you got up that road too! I wouldn't have dared try - it's a helluva way. I wasn't driving the February we went up there, a lady in our group was driving about 8 of us up in her people carrier - it did get very tricky towards the dam - she did really well! I got to the foot of that steep nose, gave it a quick try and then totally bottled it - followed by around half of the group who hadn't been happy either. Think they just didn't want to admit to being feart! :lol: Defo not my sort of thing in snow and ice - way too steep at the top! Lovely pics though :D

But, although the walking can be quite fun, I'll never be eager for winter - I hate being cold and miserable!
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Re: Gairich - the best munro I never summited

Postby monty » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:01 pm

Hi Michael,
Nice report with some excellent pictures. Just love that frozen waterfall. I done this one in rain and sleet and it was not much fun. However I would not like to be caught out in those temperatures. :D
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Re: Winter Wonder Land - the best walk I never finished

Postby Graeme D » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:03 pm

Nice report Michael. Brings back some cracking memories of last winter. Same again this year please! :D
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Re: Winter Wonder Land - the best walk I never finished

Postby kinley » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:15 pm

:shock: :shock: :shock:

Brave getting your car up there :shock: 8)

Looks absolutely excellent though 8)

Cannae wait for winter :D

Cheers
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Re: Winter Wonder Land - the best walk I never finished

Postby Milesy » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:24 pm

really love the composition of some of those photos!

bring winter on with gusto! 8)
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Re: Winter Wonder Land - the best walk I never finished

Postby davidwcroft » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:36 pm

Michael
Fantastic photos. Thinking of trying it this winter but if there is that much snow on the roads I doubt I would attempt the drive in. Good decision to turn back especially with the fantastic memories.
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