Ryan's & Henning's blog for Scottish mountaineering reports
Monday, 7 May 2012
Fannaichs and the Grampian Alps
Aberdeen is currently grey, grey, grey. It seems as if the North East does not reward its people for enduring the long winter with its short, dark days. A colleague of mine, Kuno, was here for science and Munros and a local colleague of mine, Christian joined in for some outdoor action. The forecast was wintry and so it was a pleasant surprise when we woke up under blue skies in the Aultguish Inn, one of the unique Highland Inns. The others are the Cluanie Inn and the Crask Inn plus and then of course Young Roddie's place, the Cluanie Inn plus the Kingshouse in Glen Coe. The Aultguish is run by an Italian chef and his Scottish wife. It is far away from anyway apart from Munros. The food is excellent and I remember some oustanding Oxtail cooked up by the chef himself. The only downside is that the kitchen closes at 8 pm (ish) as the owners have to serve the thirsty hillwalkers waiting for a pint. Here is Kuno in front of the Aultguish on Saturday morning/
Plan A was to scramble over An Teallach and then to stay in Shenavall bothy. I am hesitant to use any bad word against the Mountain Bothy Association which do a fantastic job in maintaining bothies but closing Shenavall on the May bank holiday weekend is less than ideal. Having said that these guys also need to find some free time to do their much appreciated work. So we changed plan and walked up to do some hills in the Fannaichs. Here are Kuno and Christian walking up the glen under blue skies...
... crossing rivers ...
... and then ascending the hillside under not so blue skies.
We reached the summit of Sgurr nan Clach Geala and then walked around the corrie to ascend Sgurr Mor. On our way we managed to have a good luck at the buttresses on Sgurr nan Clach Geala which host oustanding winter climbs including Skyscraper buttress and several great looking gullies.
The clouds lifted for a while and snow and spring go well together.
Here is Kuno approaching Sgurr Mor.
Again a period of fog, snow and hail on the descent. We managed to drift off the wrong side but soon corrected our course to reach the bealach. A long way down over another hill. Here are Christian and Kuno leaving the snowzone.
Day two was supposed to be worse and for that reason Christian had left the night before. So Kuno and decided to follow the coast and then head towards Aviemore. We had a good view of our plan A, An Teallach, which did not materialise the day before. A lot of snow had fallen over night.
Onwards to Gairloch and its beach...
... via Slioch not in the best light for photography.
We drove to Aviemore where we stopped in the Old Bridge Inn for some food. I had a grilled sea bream with potatoes and a salad for £15. Great quality cooked with the odd wee twist, good service and not too expensive. Suitably fed we walked up to Corrie an Sneachda for Kuno's first winter climb. We chose Jacobs ladder.
The neve was solid all the way and the cornice was almost non existent. Brilliant condition. I had one rope and sling which are shown in the next photo with Kuno sitting in a comfortable bucket seat below.
On the way to the car we saw one of the Cairngorms reindeers which patiently endured me taking a photo.
A good outing but the cold can now really go please... unless it brings Skyscraper buttress in condition on a day when I have time to climb it!