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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.

Somewhere near Ben Armine

Somewhere near Ben Armine

Postby Pastychomper » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:03 pm

Date walked: 26/01/2019

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It was clear that this was not a good day for hill walking: strong wind and heavy rain that would probably translate into snow on the hilltops, not to mention the dark clouds. On the plus side, that heavy rain would probably translate to snow on the hilltops, so a not-too-ambitious walk could be fun. Accordingly I set off with two big hopes for the day: a decent walk, and a decent walk in the snow. If I managed to reach a hilltop it would be a bonus.

There was a layer of snow on the lower hills and the higher roads.

I started cycling along the track near Badenloch - a couple of inches of snow all the way - and soon got picked up by a friendly venison dealer, who dropped me and the bike near-ish to Loch Coire House. He was careful to tell me he'd be heading back that way in half an hour, in case I changed my mind.

I had a nice steep climb through snowy woods onto a low arm of the hill. Visibility was maybe 150m from here up, though clear at track level. Wind easterly, biting above ~300m, shifting to north later. I'd brought less layers than I intended, that wasn't a problem but I was very aware of having little to fall back on if I had to stop.

After maybe 45 minutes I was on a plateau with the wind driving snowflakes into my legs, which started to sting - no bonus today. About then I came in sight of the steep side of Meall Ard, and of a fresh set of deer tracks whose authors were making their way around the lee of the hill. I followed them until I spotted some icicles on the west of Meall Ard. These, I decided, would be a worthy destination and the walk's Jovi point.

Returned a little way west of the route out, less wind but slippery in places. The trees looked spectacular from above.

10 miles along a track didn't sound like much on a bike, but with snow dragging at the tyres to the point where it was easier to walk a lot of the time, it was a trek and a half. Somewhere along the track I felt water on my right foot, which served to point out how well my old boots had served - my feet and ankles were still dry apart from that, while the rest of me up to the hat line was thoroughly drenched.

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