Route goes here ???
Some interesting data
Beinn a’ Chait – ???m – Unclassified hill
Friday, 18 November
We left Edinburgh on Friday by the 10.36am train to Inverness.
The weather was glorious and remained so all the way to Blair Atholl.
12.52 – Blair Atholl in the sun & a white Carn Liath
Mr Frazer was waiting for us by the cottage when we got there.
We unpacked, went to the shops, and prepared dinner for the next two days. We also prepared lunch, and packed the panniers.
We went to bed by 10pm. I was so much looking forward to our first day in the snow!
Saturday, 19 November
This was the first excursion in our 3-night trip to Blair Atholl.
We got up to a very frosty/slightly snowy morning. The streets and roofs were all white. Very promising.
We left the house at about 8am.
8.15 – Riding past Blair Castle
We rode past Blair Castle. It was looking as beautiful as ever in the wintry morning.
We saw the two black highland cows, and the familiar deer herd.
8.45 – Left path leading to the rifle range
We took the road to the left and headed towards the rifle range.
8.59 – Simon contemplating ???
9.24 – Leaving Mounty and Liath
Soon the snow on the path became thicker, so we ended up leaving the bikes at the same spot as last year.
9.58 – On our way to Beinn a’ Chait
We took the same Land Rover track.
10.07 – A padlocked hut in the path
10.19 – A miniature grotto
10.39 – One of many crossings
We forded a few streams. Some of them were frozen last year. But this time the snow was like powder, and there was no layer of ice on it.
11.28 – Simon observing the lack of horizon
The weather was cold and crisp, with no wind. At first we had excellent visibility.
As we climbed, the fog started to thicken.
At times we had little visibility in front of us, and a blue sky above us.
Other times the sun disappeared completely behind the cloud, and the ground and sky became an indistinguishable white expanse.
We walked to the end of the track. There, like last year, we had lunch: cheese & tomato, ham & tomato, and paté sandwiches. We also had some hot chai.
Then we put on our crampons, headed east, and started to climb Beinn a’ Chait.
12.29 – The sun trying to be seeing
We climbed this hill a year ago, on 28 February 2016. That day, there was a bit more snow on the ground. This time, the weather was more dramatic.
Simon used his compass to find our way to the top.
12.51 – Nature’s art
13.11 – Our white rainbow
Beinn a’ Chait has a flat summit. It’s not easy to tell where the top is.
Just before we found the cairn, Simon spotted the white rainbow to our left.
13.17 – At the Beinn a’ Chait summit with rainbow
The fog lifted enough for us to have a view of ???
Throughout the climb, we saw hare’s footprints. But, unlike last year, we never saw the white speedy creature.
At the summit, there was a strong breeze. It was the first time I felt cold all day, but it only lasted a few minutes.
13.19 – The weather turning again
We turned back and started the descent. We aimed for a route slightly to the west??? of the one up.
13.41 – Maria descending with crampons & no visibility
We tried to avoid the bog, but I managed to sink my left leg up to my knee in a muddy patch.
My crampon got stuck to the bottom, and Simon had to pull me out.
14.04 – Simon somewhat frozen
By now, Simon’s hair, beard and hat had been frozen for a while.
The map felt frozen too, and the snow we had put in the water bottle earlier on never melted.
15.01 – Mysterious bicycle tracks
With little visibility, and the help of the compass, we soon found the Land Rover track.
We took off our crampons, had some “turrón de yema tostada” and hot chai, and headed for the bikes.
We noticed two mountain bike tracks that weren’t there on our way in. But we never saw the cyclists.
In fact, we didn’t see anyone all day until we were within a few miles from Blair Atholl.
15.36 – Back to Mounty and Liath
At about 3.30pm we reached the bikes. It was getting dark fast.
The ride out was quicker than we had expected. The ice wasn’t too bad, and it wasn’t nearly as cold as other times.
I suspect our Rab gloves, buff and beanie contributed to the warmth.
We got back home by 5pm.
Throughout the day, we saw plenty of pheasants and many more grouse than in previous trips.
It was a fantastic day. I loved the silence in the snow, the certainty that Simon would find the way to the top, and the humble white rainbow.