3rd February 2007

An opportunity to catch up with pals and a reunion from our Summer ML assessment. The forecast was perfect and the visibility superb. Setting off from the upper car park at Cairngorm, we made our way over Cairn Lochan, out to Ben Macdui, with a return via the summit of Cairngorm down the Fiacaill a’ Choire Cas in the darkness.

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The photographs provide a short chronicle of a great day out.

The shadow of Cairngorm cast over the Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais, looking northwards over Loch Morlich, whilst up on the plateau the snow pack had frozen like iron.

A superb day for making tracks across the tops towards distant Ben Macdui.

A day for making tracks but also, for others, a day for learning skills, with outdoor instructors make the most of the conditions. As we made our way further across the plateau, Beinn Mheadhoin came into view with the summit tors sitting proud on the skyline.

As Beinn Mheadhoin became more visible, so too did giant Ben Avon and Beinn a’ Bhuird.

The clarity was superb and as the vista unfolded, we realised we could see across to Lochnagar, some 30 km away.

180o and over our shoulders lay Braeriach, the third highest mountain in the UK, with its ridge leading towards Cairn Toul, Devils Point and Angels Peak. A plan was hatched for later that year, but more to come another time….

The long distance views were quite exceptional. Snow covered Ben Alder and the Aonachs lay to the south west. Further down country, framed through Beinn Bhrotain, the distinctive outlines of Stob Binnean and Ben More could be seen under a veil of cloud, with the Ben Lawers hills further to the east.

With short winter days, it was time to return, this time over Cairngorm and back down to the car park. The late afternoon sun was catching Beinn Mheadhoin with cirrus clouds high in the sky, beginning to catch the colours of the sunset.

Winter mountain days can provide stunning views and this one was no exception. We were lucky to have full sunshine throughout the day with high cloud and excellent long range visibility. A 9.5 hour day passed all too quickly in excellent company and paved the way for many plans for future mountain days.