Scotland’s Winter Mountains and extracurricular activities

Storms, wind scoured plateaus and the unforgettable views: 

January: Down to the lochan in Lochnagar’s corrie. Meikle Pap, with snow, to the right. Photo © Ken Thomson

February: A muirburn patch work highlighted by the snow above a lower Glen Ey grouse moor. The mosaic grows different ages of vegetation for food, nesting areas and shelter for the grouse. Photo © Guy Bromby

These three photographs are from several days in March, on the Lochnagar plateau:

A non text book snow hole, taking 21 person hours to cut through some hard layers, in the few days before lock down started and mountain access closed. Despite their freezer like appearance snow holes are safe, warm and comfortable, if you avoid a thaw and allow ventilation. Photo © Mike Duguid

Some snow hole cutting tools, with the orange handled short saw from a hardware store, remembered as effective and contrasting with a higher cost, well reviewed and purpose built snow saw. Photo © Mike Duguid

A wind scooped snow hollow with cornice, some six metres high, above a stream incising the mountain plateau. The initial path from above in poor visibility, on a slightly convex slope, obscures this hazard.  Knowing exactly where you are on the map and noting the “feel” of the changing shape  and direction of the snow slope with your feet before it is too late; throwing the odd snowball to see “something”,  when the sky and the ground are merged in 24 carat white and, finally, “boxing around” the obstacle that you can not actually see are some key mountain skills. Blindly following a compass bearing or a GPS position on a screen may kill you. Photo © Mike Duguid