christmas in the frozen north
Wed, Dec 30, 2009
With Dawn doing her stint with the rellies this year I got the call from Graeme that he was heading up north for new year and would I like to spend a couple of nights at Coire Fhionnairigh bothy with a day on the hill. So on boxing day I fired up the old banger and drove across to Culags, slotting the car into a vacant hole in the snow left by a previous vehicle. It’s been subzero here for almost two weeks with a huge amount of snow at the side of the roads and very very hard ice on the paths.
By the time we reached the bothy the moon was up and casting our shadows on the deep snow while intense sparkles twinkled from the mounds of white stuff through which we ploughed. It seemed the sparkles created by the moonlight were more intense than the sun generated ones. A wonderful night indeed. Sunday’s objective was Maol Cheann Dearg, although it wasn’t looking like a Bald Red Head in the arctic conditions
and the route up was hard indeed. Although there was a deep trench already ploughed in the snow from previous parties, higher up it had drifted over and the ascent to the ridge up the east coire was super hard in steep, waist deep snow. Once up though, after 3.5 hours from the bothy! the views were out of this world, looking across to the Torridon giants and the really frozen north.
It was only -2C though so we lingered for about 45mins, sheltering from the bitter wind behind the big cairn, getting ready for a winter sunset and the anticipated descent in the moonlight.
A cracking fire in the bothy that night with the 26kg of coal we’d humphed up the path, joined by a thoroughly decent chappie who was a Tornado pilot, recently back from Afghanistan. Such is bothy life. Lots of interesting people!
-6C inside the bothy on Monday morning with deer rummaging marks on the grass outside. A wonderful place to be.
you can see all the pics here.