We spent the post-Christmas week in Newtonmore near Aviemore with Elsie and seven other climbers/runners. Almost as soon as we arrived, snow started falling and we made the most of it!
Day 1. Hills behind Kingussie
On day 1, Richard and I ventured into the hills behind the cottages where we’re all staying. Our aim was to complete a circular route from the cottage, around Loch Gynack, then up to the ridge of Am Bodach and back to the cottage, but on our way up to the top of the ridge, the weather deteriorated and became rather windy, and more importantly the snow became so thick that running was impossible. So, instead we traversed the snowy, heathery hillside off-path and descended the hills to the east through lovely snowy forests. From here we ran back to Loch Gynack and then up Creag Bheag, before heading home rather cold and damp. The lovely untouched snow in the forest was by far the highlight of the run.
Day 2. Meall a’ Bhuachaille
On day 2, six of us (Katy, Paul, Jen, Jamie, Richard and I) walked from Glenmore. We walked through the Ryvoan Pass to the Ryvoan bothy, where we had lunch out of the wind! Then we ascended Meall a’ Bhuachaille, which was rather cold and windy! From here Jen and Paul descended back to Glenmore, but the rest of us carried on along the ridge summiting Creagan Gorm and Craiggowrie before descending down and running back to the cars through the forest.
We celebrated the new year with fish and chips in Aviemore, followed by drinks in the Cairngorm Hotel, followed by the torch light procession and fireworks in Newtonmore!
Day 3. Skiing
By day 3, the winds had subsided and the temperature was nice and cold, so Richard and I skied on Cairngorm. We took the Funicular Railway up to the summit and was just about to start skiing, when a part of Richard’s telemark ski binding broke! So, I went off skiing, whilst Richard went back down the mountain to hire some ‘proper’ skis. After 4 runs on the Gun Barrels, Richard arrived back sporting nice orange skis and boots and we hurtled down the tame slopes with Richard trying to remember not to do telemark turns in downhill gear! In the morning, only the slopes to the Corrie Cas slopes were open, but in the afternoon the ciste slopes also came available. By this time however, the light was fading and it was difficult to see the variable snow conditions. Before damaging myself, I decided to call it a day and left Richard to have a few more runs before we both headed back to the car.
… More to come soon