Sunday, 2 May 2021

The 'Thing' On Cairn Gorm

April 30, 2021

On the last day of April I went up Cairn Gorm in a mix of stinging hail showers, dense mist and blasts of startling sunshine. Fresh snow lay on the ground, deep and soft enough to make me regret not bringing skis or snowshoes. No sense of spring up here.

The mists cleared from the summit while I was there, the sun lighting the snow and ice encrusted weather station, which looked dramatic against dark clouds. I posted a phone picture on social media and it's had a huge response, some of the comments showing that the posters had never seen it before, several commenting it was like something out a science fiction movie. (The picture at the top of the post was taken at the same time with my camera).

Having been up Cairn Gorm at least once a year for over forty years I'm very familiar with the weather station. Trying to look at it as if with fresh eyes I can see that it is a strange edifice to find on a mountain top, especially when coated in snow.

February 6, 2015

My picture also elicted many entertaining comments. One poster even came up with the opening scene for a film:

Others referenced Star Wars  (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ...  @TheBlueLady3) and other movies.

January 19, 2019

The Cairngorm Automatic Weather Station was erected on the summit in 1977 by Heriot-Watt University Physics Department and has been recording data ever since, building up a valuable collection of information on the weather on one of our highest mountains. On Jan 3rd, 1993 at 11:48 (it's a scientific instrument, it's precise) the weather station noted the highest recorded windspeed in the UK, 176 mph. I've been up there in some horrendous winds but that would blow you off the mountain and far away. 

November 25, 2007

I find the weather station most mysterious in dense mist when it suddenly looms up in front of you, huge and strange. Then it really does seem something has landed from outer space. If the heated cylinder that records the data then rises into the air with loud mechanical noises, as it does every half hour, you do wonder what else is going to emerge.

April 13, 2005

Without snow the weather station is a little more mundane, though the sound of the recording cylinder, seen protruding in the picture above, is still weird when it echoes through the mist.

December 22, 2019

Unless the weather is vile I usually spend some time on the extensive summit as it's a good viewpoint. I love revelling in the sense of space and looking across the vast rolling Cairngorm Plateau to distant Ben Macdui. The summit is popular, being reasonably easy to reach. I usually plan on being there late in the afternoon after everyone has gone but I don't mind sharing. It's a great place for everyone who loves the hills.

December 11, 2012



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