After a long term and a pub night in Inverness after getting the train up, the last thing I felt like doing the next morning was getting out of bed and doing things. But Malky got up and went to work so I borrowed his car and went to look for some snow.
Ben Wyvis was the closest and easiest “big hill” that might still have some snow cover. I parked up at the car park at Garve having only found the wrong gear a couple of times on the way over There was still cloud touching the top of Wyvis but I was hoping it would blow off by the time I got there
Cloud topping Wyvis ahead
There was a lot of water around – despite a blanket of snow everywhere at the start of the week there had been a huge thaw and most of it was now gone
Bridge over a very full river
It was an easy walk from the car park but it had been several years since I was last here and I didn’t remember how much uphill there was before I got to the actual mountain
Soon enough I was out of the forest and onto the more open moorland. The steepest section was directly ahead of me; I kept trying to slow down as I’d been ill the week before and my breathing was all over the place, but I was excited
Hard work ahead
Any excuse for a breather – I’d accidentally brought the big lens with me so figured I may as well use it
Torridon - Fuar Tholl & Beinn Liath Mor
Loch Glascarnoch & An Teallach
Loch Luichart with Strathfarrar & Strathconon hills beyond
I plodded slowly on, trying to ignore stupid injuries niggling and telling myself I just need to warm them up
As I approached the top of the steepest section I started encountering some patches of snow. It was also getting very windy and I could see some cloud ahead…
As I was struggling to stay on my feet I was aware of a spectre walking alongside me! It actually followed me all the way up the ridge but was difficult to photograph properly
With the low cloud it was the perfect condition for broken spectres
Looking back down the ridge
However, soon I left my spectre behind and was into thicker clag. The snow seemed to have disappeared too and I was left with slush and ice which made walking quite awkward
As I walked along the plateau there were moments where I thought it would clear, but it never quite happened. I considered not bothering but I was still confident the cloud would bugger off
A little clearing
After about 2km the slush became thicker and then became actual snow!
And then I was finally there
Ben Wyvis summit
Now I’d stopped walking I was freezing so hid behind the trig to put some more layers on. Unfortunately I actually ended up getting colder because my jacket kept nearly blowing away
Ben Wyvis summit
There were a few moments where I almost thought the sun was going to break through but after a couple of near misses I got bored of freezing my ass off and decided to retreat!
Beating a hasty retreat
I think I must have got snow in my camera somewhere because it was around about here that it started playing silly buggers too
Sun hitting An Teallach
I was getting a lot warmer now out of the worst of the cloud and wind and eventually I was back onto the flat section
Back on the flat-ish
Looking back to Wyvis
I did consider taking this one home
This started me thinking about Christmas so I decided I might feel a bit festive
Back at the car I could see that even more cloud had dropped onto the hill so I was glad I hadn’t waited!
Looking back - even more cloud up there now
It was an easy drive back to Inverness where I had time for a shower and some food before joining Malky at his work night out
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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.