“Cold snaps in May aren’t unusual” I mused to myself over the weekend as a snow flakes and then hail swirled down from the grey Caithness lock down sky. Over the years I can remember several cooler spells that have brought significant snowfall to the Scottish hills and no doubt forgotten others! Unfortunately there’s no making use of the fresh snow that has fallen in the last few days in the Cairngorms, or the remaining large amount of old snow at Glencoe Mountain ski centre. Today I’ve even spotted a dusting on the tops of the hills on Hoy in the Orkney Islands.
Back in 2012 there was a good snowfall in the Cairngorms that allowed the ski centre to open back up after a previously mild spring. On 12th May 2012 I was able to get out. I spent the morning skiing at Cairngorm Mountain, then put on skins and headed up to the summit of Cairngorm before enjoying a run south down to Stac an Fharaidh that overlooks the Loch Avon basin. The views over to Beinn Mheadhoin, Loch Etchachan and Ben Macdui were sublime.
After, I reclimbed to Stob Coire an t-Sneachda and followed the rim of the northern corries to Cairn Lochan before descending to the Miadan Creag an Leth-choin for wonderful views through and across the Lairig Ghru to Cairn Toul, and Sron na Lairige.
The line of the Allt Creag an Leth-choin stream (Lurchers Gully) gives a nice ski descent from here. Thankfully this quieter side of the Northern Corries survived attempts to introduce ski infrastructure in the 1980’s and 90’s!
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