Thursday, 21 May 2015

Viewing the Snow in Coire an Lochain


Coire an Lochain

May has continued wet and windy and cold with hints of snow in the rain at low levels and scatterings of the real stuff on the tops. Much snow is left from the winter too. From Aviemore great snowfields can be seen on the walls of the Northern Corries of Cairn Gorm and the scalloped north face of Braeriach. For a close-up view of the snow I wandered into Coire an Lochain on a day of racing clouds, patches of blue sky and a damp chill in the air. 

Below the dark cliffs high on the corrie’s back wall a wide band of snow swept across the slopes to merge with a much more extensive snowfield on the steep eastern flank, a snowfield that ran right down into the cold grey waters of the lochan that lies in the heart of the corrie. The snow isn’t as deep as it was in early June last year (see this post) but it actually covers a larger area. A speckling of fresh snow lay on the western sun-exposed side of the corrie. Although only a few miles from the car park it felt, as always, remote and wild here, the snow giving it a touch of the arctic.

Floating ice

Wandering round the lochan I stared across its dark surface to plates of dirty snow floating in the water. Spattered with mud and earth these looked like the debris from avalanches. Many little slides were visible on the slopes above the lochan and there were bare patches where the snow had slid off.

Unstable slopes
 
Turning away from the snow and the lochan I pondered on whether to climb to the summit of Cairn Lochan. The weather decided for me. I had barely reached the corrie rim when I felt the first spots of rain on my head. I looked back. The clouds were descending over the crags. The rain became heavier. I headed for the car.

The clouds come down

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