Dealing with the wind? Where to go a bad forecast – looks like a low walk today.

This  is my last day on the hill for a while till I come back from a visit South and the forecast is awful. I am lucky that we have so many low – level walks in my home area that are sheltered so we will see what happens! I go South on Thursday and will be splitting the journey and visiting friends and family in Ayr and I am looking forward to a drive through Glencoe and Crainlarich and meeting a few friends on the way.  I have all the kit in my hill bag for winter and even a shovel and sleeping bag in the car along with a set of snow chains and good winter tyres so I am prepared. (Are you?)

It is  a long drive down South and the journey can be interesting the old car is just 0n 200000 miles so I hope it manages the journey and gets me back after seeing my lovely grand – kids. It is a great time when they are so young and excited about Christmas.  I missed out so much when working away for most Christmas’s for over 35 years!

Time unfortunately I will never get back,

I hope to go out with the Moray Club over New Year to Breamar area depending on my health.

I hope to go out with the Moray Club over New Year to Breamar area depending on my health.

Its has been a month since my two operations and I am getting there, it is hard trying to take it easy but I have to. I still feel pretty sore and stiff and uncomfortable especially at night but I cannot grumble and so many have been so kind to me.  The doctors  have another operation planned after the New Year so it may be a long winter of little activity but hopefully it will all be worth it and the health and fitness will be back. It is great that I am still getting out and about and the wind and snow of Sunday in the Cairngorms makes one feel alive and better than any medicine.

Looking for a Christmas Present well worth a look!

Looking for a Christmas Present well worth a look!

Today’s weather for the Cairngorms – a bit wild

“Storm force winds up to 80 -100 mph across the Scottish mountains; severe upland gales in England and Wales increasing to storm force. Snow setting in across Scotland, but mostly all turning to rain – heavy in west. Rain slowly developing Lakes, Snowdonia & W Pennines.”

South or southwesterly; soon 80 to in gusts more than 100mph. Before dusk westerly and slight easing.


Walking difficult from many lower slopes upward, and higher up any mobility tortuous. Severe wind chill.

Wind – As a general rule, once winds reach 25-31 mph walking is likely to be ‘difficult’, from 32-38 mph, you’ll have ‘great difficulty’, from 39-46 mph, things become ‘dangerous’, while from 47-54 mph you’re at the point where you can be blown off your feet and crawling is difficult. Above 55 mph progress is generally impossible, even by crawling. If you’re lighter than average, you’ll find even harder to keep moving steadily when winds get up. I have seen 14 stone men blown away in the wind on call – outs, never underestimate natures power. I am lucky being small and “fat” I can cope with most winds. One of the many days I will never forget on the “Mayo Call – out” in the Cairngorms from the 19 -21 February 1993. The weather was that bad that I was crawling at times from Coire An Lochan across the plateau at midnight after searching the steep sides of the Larig Gru.   We had to be there that day a young  15-year-old boy was missing and his father but that was so near the edge it was unreal. I was exhausted both physically and mentally it took us nearly 2 hours to cross the plateau, roping up, searching the cornices ( we were asked to?)  it was mental and some one was watching us that night. Sadly all three died in that tragedy and I had just handed the RAF Kinloss  Mountain Rescue Team over as Team Leader and was back on the hill again as a party leader it was a wild few days.

John Allen the Cairngorm Team Leader tells part of the story in his book “Cairngorm John” an interesting read about the great work of the cairngorms Team.

Cairngorm John


Wind can be a killer so be careful stay away from ridges if possible and a face – mask and goggles are essential in winter! Walking poles can help stability but be aware that on steep ground an ice axe is essential as are crampons on hard ice even on flat ground in a wind. Sometimes the only way off is to crawl and rope up!

So watch these winds!


A few wild days ahead I think! Take care


About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Avalanche info, Books, Family, Friends, Gear, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dealing with the wind? Where to go a bad forecast – looks like a low walk today.

  1. Heavy please pass on our regards to Elma on your way south. Take plenty of breaks, even driving can take its toll on your recovery. Nasty weather forecast for the next few days, not surprised that you’re well prepared. I recall breaking down on the submit of the hills south of Jedburgh in 84. Cold night during a stormy snowy night. Had to coast down the hill in the morning and get towed to a garage. New altermeter and battery required before continuing to Linton on Ouse. Late for lunchtime shift.


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