It has been an interesting weekend in the Cairngorms with Saturday in the North, and Sunday in the South. A late start found parking to be a minor issue with a high number of skiers headed for Cairngorm Mountain. Even though some of the snow cover had diminished, the pistes were still busy.
This was not the best weekend to have come away, with gale force winds forecast. However, there were still a lot of people in the mountains. We headed through the Chalamain Gap towards Braeriach via Sron na Lairig, but deteriorating conditions caused us to change plans. Still a good walk in, but glad to have the wind to our backs on the way out.
Sunday found some interesting weather to the south of the national park with a “traditional” Scottish winter day out of Blair Atholl. We had both had the Atholl Glens on our list for a summer backpacking trip, so the opportunity to take in a Munro or two in Winter was too good to pass up.
Setting off from Loch Moraig, a steady pull up Carn Liath started the day. Spikes from about 650m helped movement, and although low cloud brought near whiteout conditions, the wind was lighter than the forecast 55mph. A snow shelter on the summit gave some respite before continuing on a bearing off to the North. Descending to the bealach saw the cloud clear for a moment to reveal the next ascent onto the second Munro of the day, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain.
We descended back to the bealach and off to the east due to the terrain traps to the west which had been the original plan. A number of obvious cornices and the considerable avalanche risk, made the choice an easy one.
The long plod out to the track and back to the car found us face into the fresh snowfall for the last hour or so.