Saturday 19 March 2016

Sunshine, Stars & Snow: A High Camp in the Cairngorms

Camp under the moon and stars

Last week the Scottish Highlands were glorious, the weather perfect. Snow and sunshine and stars, the mountains at their most magnificent. Conditions were ideal for a high camp so a friend, Mark, and I climbed up onto the Cairngorm Plateau then tramped through the snow to the northern slopes of Ben Macdui where we camped at dusk looking out across the Lairig Ghru to the tremendous skyline of Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Braeriach.

Stob Coire an t-Sneachda

As the last sunset pinks and reds faded to deep purple and black the first stars appeared and then a bright waxing moon, almost half-full. A gentle cool breeze swept over the snow. I spent several hours outside watching the stars and the mountains and the snow. To the north a hazy white curving cloud became the Northern Lights, a more subtle display than many but still magical.

A touch of the Aurora

Dawn came with a sudden burst of brightness as the sunshine hit the snow. Leaving the tents we climbed shady slopes that were still icy from the night’s freeze to the summit of Ben Macdui. To the south the glens were filled with cloud, the higher peaks poking through. We gazed and gazed before wrenching ourselves away and returning to camp.

Dawn view from the tent
View from Ben Macdui

Leaving our spectacular campsite was hard too but eventually we packed our gear and headed back across the white slopes. The mountains shone, the sun beat down, the snow began to soften. All too soon we were back at the car after a trip that will shine in our memories.

Braeriach & our camp

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous Chris....thanks for sharing, Charles Everett I was at the Munro society dinner in Grantown