by Oldman » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:36 pm
Route description: Grey Mare's Tail and Loch Skeen
Date walked: 06/01/2011
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 6 km1 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).
Anyway we left the car park at about 9.30 and it was obvious that we would encounter a lot of ice. The first rock I put my foot on at the very start of the ascent was covered in black ice which we knew would make the climb difficult and the decent almost impossible. We donned our microspikes immediately and almost ran up to the top of the waterfall. We were ony a few metres up when we encountered lying snow on top of the ice and then it started snowing but these conditions gave us no trouble at all. Without the microspikes we would have called the whole thing off!!
Soon we reached the hanging valley which carries the Tail Burn from Loch Skeen and an easy picturesque walk soon took us suddenly to the Loch. Having reached this point so easily and quickly we decided to head up to Mid Craig so we crossed the outflow from the Loch quite easily ( these spikes are terrific!!!)and off we went. The climb up to Mid Craig was virtually trackless in the snow but very easy going although the snow depth at this point was probably about 10-15cm. We made it quite easily and at the top decided that it was time for some hot soup and sandwiches - unfortunately some silly man forgot to pack the sandwiches and I got some abuse for that!!! Luckily the soup was there and so were all the chocolate bars. I thought the snow in her hair was quite interesting - trying to divert her mind from the butties. We had thought that we could target White Combe from this point but, having eaten our emergency supplies, we decided just to go back down. After all we were only testing the microspikes which had been brilliant on the way up. How would they be on the way down? So down we came - superb! Usually I find my confidence wanes somewhat when decending in snow/ice conditions. Not this time - the spikes are brilliant and made coming down a stroll in the park. I can hardly believe how confident I felt - it was a revelation. Needless to say we were down in jig time although, along the hanging valley conditions changed as the temperature rose. The snow was a bit wet on top and slushy below and this caused a bit of a build-up of snow on the spikes. This was easily removed and caused no problem. The downward walk was a delight and we observed some interesting ice formations. We arrived back at the car at about 12.30PM having had an excellent walk. We both gave the microspikes top marks and wondered how we ever managed without them in the past - we certainly wont go without them in future. Must remember the sandwiches too!!
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- Joined: May 14, 2009
- Location: Cambuslang
by blanchie » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:42 pm
Deep snow and they get balled up too much, but once I hit the point when the crampons have to come off, they're ideal until I'm below the snow/ice line. They make such a difference on iced-up paths, and are well worth the extra weight in the backpack.
by Merry-walker » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:44 pm
Best buy I ever made. Walked 12 miles in them the other week and apart from wacking them now and again with the poles to get rid of snow balls, they were just fab
I don't have crampons, I'll get them next winter, along with proper crampony boots; maybe these get balled up too, I dunnoo...
Brilliant report and pictures, by the way!!
by fedupofuserids » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:06 pm
Usually use crampons but may get my self a pair of micro spikes to add to my arsenal!
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by rockhopper » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:01 am
by Caberfeidh » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:14 pm
I tried out microspikes a year ago and was well pleased with them (see here: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2058&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=15#p17804 )
To prevent snow balling up under the feet try puting a plastic carrier bag onto the boot before you put on the microspikes (this works for crampons too). Simply cut off the excess plastic bag when it is held in place by the microspikes/crampons. The smooth surface of the plastic prevents wet snow sticking. As for the snow in Daughter's hair, perhaps you should get her a hat too.
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by Alastair S » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:43 am
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