Thursday 28 February 2019

The Cairngorm Plateau, late February

Lochan Buidhe & Cairn Gorm

After the big thaw and warm weather of the last two weeks of February I walked across the Cairngorm Plateau to Ben Macdui. The day was warm and mostly calm. On the ascent I didn't need a jacket, on the Plateau a light windproof was enough to deal with the occasional breeze. Dark glasses and a hat were needed to cope with the bright sun. Ice axe and crampons stayed in the car.

Most of the snow has, unsurprisingly, gone. I have seen the hills this bare of snow at this time of year before but I can't remember it ever being this warm. Mostly the walking was on stones and boulders. Just occasionally a patch of slushy snow had to be crossed.

As the day wore on clouds began to thicken in the west, the first signs of the change in the weather that's forecast - a change to colder temperatures and snow. Gazing down the Lairig Ghru from Ben Macdui I could see mist starting to form in distance glens.

The curve of peaks around the huge hollow of An Garbh Choire looked as dramatic as ever as the clouds above began to turn orange.

The dusk colour increased as I returned across the Plateau, giving hopes of a fiery sunset. But then the clouds began to thicken, with just a faint tinge of pink above Cairn Toul remaining.

A last surprise awaited me. Unexpectedly the sky suddenly roared into life, streaks of red and orange shooting out above the darkening hills. The effect was startling and brilliant. And brief. A few minutes and it was over.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures of wonderful places. I miss my walks on the highlands and the running races in Edinburgh.