Archive for The Fara

First Wintry Walks of the Season

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , , , , on November 25, 2015 by Jinja Coo

Two weekends of walking in the highlands with a wintry shift in the conditions and views. First, a bothy weekend during the first cold spell of the year with surprising (perhaps not) amounts of snow on the higher ground, during a walk up Morrone, which sits just above Braemar. The forecast wasn’t bad and sure enough the views were largely good, just obscured up high for a spell. A later evening walk in to a bothy was very pleasant – not too heavily laden and no need for torches until the very end, despite it being dark. Rounding the corner was the welcome sight of candlelit windows and good company for the night was ahead.

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Next day – after more snowfall coated the ground down to below the bothy – weather was better than forecast and though a damp feel to the start, a good walk up to the rim of Coire Loch Kander was possible. A great vantage point looking over a surprisingly rugged corrie and a steely grey loch below. Glen Callater overall is a very pleasant place for walking and on the way out – daylight this time – the river, swollen by thawing snow, revealed a lot more of its character than on the walk in.

A week later, and switching focus from the Braemar area to Aviemore, winter really was in evidence. Snow and ice on the roads overnight and trees heavy with snow passed on our approach to Bynack More. A second ascent for me, but this time a loop rather than the previous there-and-back walk. Up top was bitterly cold when the sun was hidden and the breeze up, but otherwise really enjoyable being on the hill, with stunning views of freshly coated ground in all directions, barely a sign of human settlement bar a wisp of smoke far off to the north. The descent to Strath Nethy was worth the effort of leaving the path and encountering some boggy terrain lower down – great views up towards Ben Macdui with the sun casting a warming light over the otherwise frozen scene – at the same time a moon was rising and brightening behind us.

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Next day, I was keen to get a shorter walk whilst such good conditions were available and to break up the journey home. I settled on The Fara by Dalwhinnie – great views down Loch Ericht – the opposite ones to those I had cast my eye over recently – and over the Drumochter Hills and others to the north. Up top, the views were hidden, but I enjoyed a lazy half hour waiting for a view, that seemed imminent by the sun almost burning through cloud. Unfortunately, I was fifteen minutes below when the sky did clear, but a nice walk was had despite that missed view. In any case the views to Ben Alder, I suspect, can only be had by following the ridge in the southern direction, something I didn’t have enough time for. A short, but hard walk with a steep ascent followed by snow deep enough at times to cause comical but tiring stumbling about.

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