Seasonal Adjustment in Glen Feshie

Back to the Cairngorms sooner than expected and it was great to find the walk chosen was one that matched recent ideas I had had of my own for a visit here in future. We intended walking from Glen Feshie and walking the the two munros to the east, Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair and Sgor Gaoith.

We left the parking just north of Achlean farm and headed south then south east to the entrance to Coire Garbhlach, somewhere I was aware of as being worth a visit, and followed the southern ridge above it, gaining the bulk of our height for the day in one short, hard ascent.

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Colours on both sides of Glen Feshie had been gorgeous on the way in and there was a clear border separating this coloured zone from the higher ground above which was plastered white. At about 800m, we crossed this line and all colour was literally left behind us as we headed first for a black and white world, then later one that was almost entirely white. The views down in to the corrie were impressive but the snow was making us stay clear of edges which may or may not have been weak snowy ground above drops.

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Here something caught my eye, a dog? No people nearby, a deer then? Within a second probably I had discounted both and realised the bushy tail gave the answer, we were watching a fox run down the slopes of Mullach Clach a’ Blair in to a stream bed to our right which we expected it would follow, out of sight, back to lower and probably more fruitful ground. However, to our surprise it soon appeared, still running at a decent pace, about 50m in front of us heading for the very steep ground of Coire Garbhlach we had been looking down at. Very strange – only the second time I have seen a rural fox and not somewhere that made much sense for something that would be looking for food.

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Though we had had views out to other tops on our approach, we reached the plateau just as visibility started to deteriorate slowly. We did make it to the top of Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair in time to get some views to the south and west, but it was a hard earned summit with just over a kilometer of tough walking on knee deep, unconsolidated snow. Back at the top of the corrie, we had a bite to eat and some tea out of the chilling breeze before deciding to plod on towards Sgor Gaoith, in any case that was a logical route back to the car as a loop even if we changed our minds, which we eventually did.

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At first a high track provided easier walking and some navigational aid, by now we were in varying degrees of poor visibility, but once off the track, legs were quickly turning to rubber with the effort required walking in the deep snow. A skier was glimpsed a couple of times (or was it two different ones?) and they certainly had an advantage over us.

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Reaching the top of Carn Ban Mor, a top en-route to SG, we decided it was a good place to branch off west to the path that would lead us back to the starting point. An easy choice, we were pretty knackered and would save ourselves another 4km (return trip) of hard walking to a summit lost deep in cloud. No views to be had, not much point!

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The descent from freezing whiteout to a much balmier temperature and more colourful scene was pretty rapid and it was hard to believe it was the same day. We enjoyed some really nice lighting in Glen Feshie on our descent, something I’ve not been able to do justice with the camera, but it was pretty unusual and fantastic.

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A great walk and first taste of winter for a while, a definite change in season and therefore effort required. Can’t wait to get back in this neck of the woods to pay a visit to Loch Einich (again) and Sgor Gaoith from that side, another benefit of our decision to leave out this hill on this occasion. To be continued … soon I hope.

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