Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Twenty-Four Hours Later Winter Returns

Meall a'Bhuachaille, 4pm Dec 3
Within 24 hours of my taking the photograph of the Cairngorms after a big thaw that appeared in my last post the snow returned. Heavy rain, low cloud and chilling rain didn't make the highest tops seem very attractive so I headed for 810 metre Meall a'Bhuachaille above Glenmore, a wonderful viewpoint for the Northern Cairngorms when the skies are clear. On this occasion the clouds didn't lift and visibility was restricted to 100 metres or less. As I wandered through the forest to Ryvoan Pass the rain fell steadily and the cloud was brushing the forest edge on the slopes above. By the time I reached Ryvoan Bothy the rain was sleety and beginning to whiten the heather. The climb steepens here. Soon I was in the cloud and the precipitation was snow.

The summit was cold and wintry, the sky thick with snow. A brief stop and then down, skidding on the slippery stony path. The cloud base was around 500 metres, the snow was settling down to 400 metres. More is forecast. Winter has returned to the Cairngorms.

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