April 15, 2019

Ian’s Spontaneous Trip To The Cairngorms

In this blog article Ian Thorpe tells us about his spontaneous trip to the Cairngorms in his LWB Cromarty Jerba Campervan! Ian’s campervan provided a base for his winter hill walking in minus 8 degrees.

This was a cheeky dash from North Wales to the Cairngorms for just a couple of days of hill-walking in some early season November snow. Following Jerba’s advice I drained the van’s water system before leaving home and packed some bottled water as I would be cooking evening meals and taking hot drinks on my walks.

From Kingussie I headed down Glen Feshie and had no difficulty tucking myself into one of a number of small parking places just off the single track road. I was taking care driving as I had only standard tyres on and there was a thin coating of frozen snow on the tarmac.

Next winter I will probably equip myself with a second set of wheels with winter tyres, having had such good experiences of using them on other vehicles. I carry chains, but there are many circumstances in which winter rubber is all you need.

I woke before daylight and the thermometer read minus 8 degrees. I’d had the roof down, with a window very slightly open to control condensation and had been snug in a 4 season sleeping bag, having benefited from the Wallas heater for a couple of hours the previous evening. The van’s insulation meant that the water bottles were still usable.

t6 snow

A chilly but bright morning at -8 degrees C

From sunrise onwards the day was glorious and having headed out I steadily peeled off layers as I made my way up to the summit of Sgor Gaoith. It was a magical day, not least because there was no one else out on ‘my’ hill. The tracks I followed for part of the approach belonged to walkers who had gone further south.


Even a Landrover track looked beautiful under this snow

The views from the summit over Loch Eanaich to Braeriach and beyond were unsurpassed and I was reluctant to head down again.

cairngorms snow

Looking east from the summit

I knew, though, that the daylight would fade early and the temperature would drop quickly. In the end I found that a day in deep snow had tired my legs and I was glad to reach the comfort of the campervan. It had been a special day and one which I would almost certainly never have been able to undertake had I not had the campervan as my base.

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