Sunday 3 February 2019

On Meall a'Bhuachaille in the snow

Cairn Gorm & the Northern Corries from Meall a'Bhuachaille

Leaving behind the magical forest described in my last post I started the climb up Meall a'Bhuachaille. How quickly the world changed and opened up, the views vast, the confines of the trees vanishing far below. My interest now stretched to far horizons over rolling white mountains. Underfoot the snow was soft. Off the path it was deep and I was glad others had beaten down the path the summit. I met a walker, descending past me and taking a direct line through the soft snow, easy enough going down. I stayed on the path.

Walker descending to Ryvoan Pass

Even though the temperature was below zero there was no breeze and climbing was hot work Once on the summit I quickly realised how cold it was and was glad I'd brought a down jacket. It was an hour before sunset and I was planning on staying to watch the light change.

On the summit

The panorama from the summit was superb. This is one of the great viewpoints of the Cairngorms. Out along Strathspey layers of mist shrouded the towns and roads. Over there was my home. It looked as though it was under a grey gloomy cloud.


Down in Glen More sparkling Loch Morlich was almost completely ice-covered, a pale lozenge in the dark forest. Far to the west the sky was beginning to turn pink as the sun slid towards the horizon.

Loch Morlich

Out beyond the Cairngorms thin mist was forming in the glens as the hills darkened into ethereal silhouettes. Clouds on the horizon caught the last of the sun.

Mist forming

Sunset came with a flash of orange. Pink light briefly suffused the snow. Then it was cold and grey, the only brightness in the thin band of clouds above the now hidden sun. Time to go. I crunched down the snow, aware of the increasing cold.


The brilliant colours on the horizon held my eyes as I descended towards the forest, pulling me on. As I reached the first trees there was a final glorious burst of brightness then it was into the dark forest, my headlamp needed to light the way.

Last light

Meall a'Bhuachaille is a favourite hill. I climb it several times a year. Every time is different, every time is enjoyable. But this was special.


  1. Superb photos,Chris, from an obviously great day out on a great wee hill (if that's not an oxymoron?!) all the best from Mark&Helen xxx

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