Tuesday 19 December 2023

Favourite Camps of 2023 in pictures

Long Beach, Inverie, Knoydart. May.

It's time to start looking back on the year that's ending. I think of years mostly in terms of trips and camps. For the fourth year running I didn't venture beyond the Scottish Highlands - there is so much to do here! Indeed, there were few trips outwith the Cairngorms though one was the longest of the year - two weeks in Knoydart.

By the Allt Coire na Cruaiche with Ben Aden in the background, Knoydart. May

My camping trips didn't start until February and were cut short at the end of October due to the need to recuperate from an operation (I don't think I'll be out again this year). I didn't manage a camp in August either but I made the most of the trips in the other eight months.

Dawn, Cairngorms. February

The first trip of the year was at the back of Cairn Gorm on a freezing winter night with lovely dawn and dusk light.

Coire Laogh Mor, Cairngorms. March.

March saw the annual igloo building trip with the Inverness Backcountry Snowsports Club. Conditions weren't ideal. There wasn't a lot of snow lower down and it was stormy higher up but we did manage to construct three igloos.

Igloo, Coire Laogh Mor, Cairngorms. March

One of the igloos was a solo one. I loved the quiet and solitude.

Glen Affric, April

In April I went to Glen Affric and had a fine camp on a frosty night under a star-filled sky. 

Glen Affric, April

There were still large snow patches on the mountains. The next day found a steep hard patch barring my descent from Mam Sodhail. Without ice axe or crampons I retreated and took a different route.

Glen Affric, April

This was longer and ended in a crossing of awkward boggy ground but it did avoid any snow. The day ended with a pleasant camp amongst some fine old Scots pines.

Glen Pean, Knoydart. May

The Knoydart trip in May started with five days with Tony Hobbs and his dog Lassie.

Loch Morar, Knoydart. May

In mostly wet weather we went through Glen Pean to Loch Morar and then back along the tops to Loch Arkkaig.

Glen Dessary, Knoydart. May

Our last night was spent just above the forest in Glen Dessary and finally the weather was warm and dry enough to sit outside 

Glen Kingie, Knoydart trip. May

After Tony left I spent another eight days walking through Knoydart, still in mostly wet and windy weather with cloud down on the tops. 

Moine Mhor, Cairngorms. June.

June saw me back in the Cairngorms with a fine camp on the Moine Mhor, a favourite place, that gave a great view of Sgor Gaoith above a cloud inversion.I climbed Braeriach from the camp.

Lairig an Laoigh, Cairngorms. July.

In July I camped in the Lairig an Laoigh pass in the Cairngorms and woke to a superb dawn after which I went up Creag Mhor. 

Below Stac na h-Iolaire, Cairngorms. September.

September I went up the long north ridge of Cairn Gorm, though I didn't go all the way to the summit, with a camp below Stac na h-Iolaire. 

Glen Quoich, Cairngorms. October

Tony Hobbs joined me again for a five day trip in early October in the Eastern Cairngorms. The weather was wet and very windy. For two nights we camped in upper Glen Quoich.

Glen Gairn, Cairngorms. October

From Glen Quoich we crossed a low pass into Glen Gairn. Here we camped in a spot that initially seemed reasonably sheltered. The wind soon picked up though, thrashing the tents, so we packed up in the dark and headed down the glen in search of somewhere better, ending up sheltering behind an estate hut. I bivvied out here. Tony managed to erect his tent next.

Deeside, Cairngorms. October

The strong winds continued the next day as we struggled over a high pass and down to Deeside where we camped deep in the woods. 

Glen Feshie, Cairngorms. October

At the end of October I camped amongst the magnificent old pines and the bright autumn colours of the birches not far from the rushing river in Glen Feshie. A fine last camp of the year.

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