Sunday 3 April 2016

A Frosty Camp in Glen Feshie

Early morning in Glen Feshie

Sometimes the weather forecast isn’t quite accurate enough. Not wrong exactly (sometimes it is that) but not quite right as to just when types of weather will occur. That happened a few days ago when I wandered down Glen Feshie for the first time this year, intending on a camp under the pines followed by an ascent of Mullach Clach a’Bhlair. The forecast suggested the cloudy, windy weather would clear during the night and the following day would be fine until late in the afternoon.

A clear sky at dawn
At dusk as I walked down the glen there was a touch of pink in the western sky but mostly it was cloudy with spots of rain and a chill wind. The night was black with no stars as I pitched the tent and I was quite happy to be inside warm in my sleeping bag and soon falling asleep. I woke once, at 3.30 a.m., to a mass of stars and a hard frost. The weather had changed as forecast. Waking properly at dawn I looked out on a crisp pale world. Frost lay on everything and I could see fresh snow on the tops. The sky was blue. A cold wind swept down the glen though and there were streaks of cloud.

Climbing through the woods as the clouds close in

By the time I’d had breakfast and left the tent the clouds were dominating and the tops were beginning to fade into them. I packed and headed up anyway on an old overgrown and steep path through the trees to the open hillside. Away down Glen Feshie I could see mist filling Strathspey. Beyond the strath the Monadh Liath hills were cloud-capped.

View down Glen Feshie to a mist-filled Strathspey

Out in the open I felt the full blast of the wind which brought with it light flurries of snow. Soon I was walking through snow as well. The surface of little Lochan nam Bo was a mass of grey waves. I was on the edge of the clouds now and could see little of the slopes above. The summit was 300 metres higher and 3 kilometres away. I’d be in the mist and the wind the whole time. With the ground above snow-covered this probably meant white-out conditions. A walk back along the glen seemed more appealing so I turned and followed an icy track back down into the trees.

The landscape changes from brown to white
Much later in the day the weather did change again and the sun came out, at least on the eastern hills. But by then I was back in Aviemore in a café.

At Lochan nam Bo. Far enough.

1 comment:

  1. The weather forecast is difficult to trust this time of year, especially when wanting clearer skies and visibility for photography. Either way some stunning views and while your face in the last image says it all an enjoyable hike and camp for the time of year I'm sure.