Ian's Spontaneous Trip To The Cairngorms
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.
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.
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.