Friday 27 October 2023

Three Days In The Cairngorms: A Venture Into The Snow, VIdeo Making, Photo Shoots

Coire an t-Sneachda

This week has seen three outdoor trips but few miles walked and not many photographs taken. Two of the outings were to shoot videos and take photographs for The Great Outdoors magazine. I was the model for these rather than the photographer so didn’t have many opportunities to take photos myself. Sandwiched between these trips was an excursion to visit the snow that was brought to the Cairngorms by Storm Babete.

Badan Mosach waterfalls

On the first venture I was videoed with a review pack by Jordan Tiernan and photographed with various items of gear by James Roddie. For this we went to Glen Feshie where we wandered over to the always impressive Badan Mosach waterfalls and then up through the forest to the open hillside. 

Snow above, forest below

High above the fresh snow shone on the tops. I really wanted to reach that snow.


The next day I did, and discovered it was deeper than I expected. Combined with a fierce wind that meant I didn’t go that far. Snowshoes would have helped. My ice axe and crampons were unneeded. The wind stopped me taking many photos too.

Before I reached the Cairngorm Plateau I tired of climbing straight into the wind and plodding through the soft snow, which was ankle to knee deep. The sight of a thick band of cloud running along the edge of the Northern Corries wasn’t encouraging either. I probably wouldn’t see much up there.

View west to Sgoran Dubh Mor

As I headed up I met mountain and wildlife guide Gary Hodgson of Tarmachan Mountaineering coming down. He and his companion had camped up high the previous night. The dawn was wonderful, he said, the wind only picking up and the cloud rolling in as they headed back. (You can read Gary’s account here). I should have been out early.

View over Loch Morlich & Glenmore to a distant Ben Wyvis

But as I wasn’t I headed for some boulders to shelter from the wind and then decided to head down into Coire an t-Sneachda rather than continue upwards. Out of the wind the mountains looked peaceful and calm under their blanket of snow. In the wind they felt rather savage.

The descent into the corrie was tougher and slower than I expected. The slopes I went down were bouldery and on this day the rocks were partially covered with snow, snow that also filled in the gaps between them. I spent much time prodding snow with my poles to see if it had a rock or air underneath it. Even so I lurched wildly a few times. Care was needed. Hence the slowness. You don’t have to go far to find rugged terrain in the Cairngorms!

Young trees & Cairn Lochan

Once in the corrie I turned away from the wind and walked out to the car park, passing many of the young trees springing up here, a forest returning.

Despite the wind this first experience of winter in the mountains this season was wonderful. In fact, I suspect the wind and the hard going enhanced rather than detracted from the day. I would have liked calm weather and sunshine though. And snowshoes.

Loch Morlich

The third day out was with James Roddie for more photography. Shooting the video having taken most of the first day – I’d forgotten how slow making one can be – we still had much to do. This time we went to Loch Morlich and wandered about in the woods and along the shore. The mountains were in cloud but down here the autumn colours were wonderful. Rain threatened but held off until the last photographs were taken.

Loch Morlich

Sometime soon the video will appear on The Great Outdoors website. I expect the photos will appear there too. I’ve got to write a bit about the gear first though.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful pictures and narrative. You make me want to hop up to the Cairngorms for a silent weekend!