I decided to get out for a wander today and though I am still recover
from bronchitis but needed to get out. I had a short cycle yesterday only a few miles on my mountain bike and felt a bit better.
You have to be away early as there is not much daylight in early December. The drive to Grantown On Spey was in the dark and the mist was down . I was a bit worried that the mist would be all over the Cairngorms but as I approached Aviemore it cleared and the sky was looking superb a pink colour over the hills.
The light was stunning as daybreak came and the car park was quiet, the snow was down but there was only a few climbers walkers about. I headed up onto the hill planning on going round the Northern Corries. The path was icy in places with lots of water ice to catch the unwary so I took it easy.
I love this walk it is a lovely way onto Ben MacDui but few go near the edge of the incredible Larig Gru many miss this as the path heads away from the cliffs. The views are always incredible even more so today. The pools of Dee and the great cleft in the morning light always makes me feel alive.
I met a couple of walkers one getting some winter Mountaineering in for his International Mountain Leader. We had a chat and he headed out onto Ben MacDui. It was in the cloud but otherwise everything was in view. I heard the SAR helicopter heading out for some training and it flew by me later.
The Larig Gru was a place not to be in a helicopter at times in bad weather, it was easy to get sucked in when heading to a call -out and the tops were out die to weather. It can be a long walk out after a search or descent from the plateau on an area knowledge day, It steep and holds lots of runnels of snow.
I then cut over for more views just above the Larig Gru and just look and enjoy it. It was then head up onto the tops to see if there were any climbers as the snow was in great condition the higher I went.
I followed the edge of cliffs and saw two climbers on I think the classic Ewan Buttress. I spoke to them and they had a great day despite a poor forecast, it was worth the effort and the early start, they had down Hidden Chimney the day before and enjoyed it. I met them as they neared the top and we had a chat. I used to climb a lot here maybe when my mate Dan gets back from offshore we will get a days climbing. There were a few big Cornices already building and a lot of ice forming high up.
It was then along the tops seeing a few folk many with just Ski poles no axes and a couple who were going to descend the Goat Track without axes. They changed their minds thank goodness as poles are no use on steep ground if you slip. This place had a few accidents every winter you have to take care. There seemed to be a lot more than usual and there is now way a ski pole is not a substitute for an axe on steep ground. You also need to practice with your axe so if you slip you are ready for it. It would be awful to ruin such a great day?
I saw a few more in the next Corrie doing skills and headed round always and enjoying seeing more climbers and today with no wind it was great and so enjoyable.
It was a bit busier now on the tops a lot of folk about and I enjoyed my walk down to a deserted Cairngorm Ski area. It was sad to see it empty and little happening.
It was a lovely day no rush today no timetable just be off the hill before dark. I enjoy being on my own at my own speed nowadays and think of all the rushing in past days to get back. The Cairngorms with no wind is special and I am feeling a bit stronger but still must take it easy, not easy to do when every day is important.
You do not get many better days than that !
Getting a bit fitter not coughing so much but great to take my time and enjoy this incredible place.
Where next depending on the weather the North West beckons will have to watch the weather.