The Gaick Avalanche – a wild area in winter.

First let me apologise as I have not been on the internet recently as I had a bad Gastro bowel bug and been laid up for 4 days. At least I lost some weight a rather drastic weight loss and do not recommend it. The old “Pakistan towel” became my dress wear.

This photo came up of the sight of the Gaick Avalanche. It was taken after a search in this wild area.

I have always had a keen interest in avalanches after a near brush with death on Lancet Edge (Beinn Alder area) in 1972. I remember a few years later meeting the late Blyth Wright in a bothy who told me the tale of the Gaick Avalanche. Blyth was so helpful over the years and gave us lots of advice.

Years later it was in his book written with Bob Barton “A Chance in a Million” Blyth was one of those instrumental in the Modern “Scottish Avalanche information Service” SAIS.

One of the tales like the huge avalanche that hit Gaick Lodge on the first of January 1800 when a notorious recruiting officer and four friends were killed when a huge avalanche hit the shooting lodge they were in.

Map of area.

Also another one where the keeper lived on the spoils of another avalanche that missed the Lodge but brought down 2 Stags and lots of grouse in its wake helping feed the keeper for the winter!  

Gaick is in a remote part of the Cairngorms but now well used by mountain bikers and Corbett bashers. Most come on from the private road. Which can hold snow late on after a big winter.

Gaick Lodge

The descent to Gaick from this area if your on the nearby hills can be tricky as I found out in my winter traverse of Scotland in 1978. We arrived on the other side of the Glen from the munro Meall Chuaich. Normally an easy Munro but this was during a big blizzard that had the A9 shut. These were the days before there were gates on the A9. As we walked into the blizzard into the wilds of Gaick in very heavy snow I was worried. We had 4 days food left and some serious walking and navigation to do. I was wary of the steep descent I was the only one who knew the story of the avalanche on the other side of the Glen. The descent down the path to the Loch was harrowing but I was so glad to be in the Glen but wary of the snow that was on the hills. The tale of the next few days was one of survival!

1978 Arriving near Gaick big bags and a heavy snowed descent.

Gaick Corbetts: An Dun and Meall Creag an Loch

The two, steeply flanked Corbetts that rise on either side of Loch an Duin at the top of the Gaick Pass give an excellent hillwalk in a unique corner of Scotland, with a feeling of remoteness. The tops of the hills are flat and spacious, but are divided from their neighbours by great ice-gouged trenches. A mountain bike could be used to shorten the approach.


Good approach track (suitable for mountain bike). Short stretches of very boggy ground and a burn crossing which could be tricky in spate. Extremely steep heather and grass ascents and descents on the hills. In winter with heavy snow be aware.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Avalanche info, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Gaick Avalanche – a wild area in winter.

  1. willatts says:

    Coincidentally, just the area we went to yesterday, but only as far southwards down the glen from Drumguish as Meallach Mhor.

    I read of the avalanche only last night.

    Liked by 1 person

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