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Date: 22 - 29 JAN 12
Submitted by: KEITH MONAGHAN

Sandra and I headed for Aviemore in mothership arriving Monday morning, and then up into Northern Coires. A distinct lack of snow compared to the previous visits in the last 2 years so we climbed Fiacaill Ridge on very icy rock but enjoyable with great views. The goat track down was sheets of ice from top to bottom and there was little sign of any snow in any of the gullies, but loads of ice everywhere.
Next morning as planned we hired Ski mountaineering gear which was surprisingly easy to use and spent the day skiing and sliding over the off piste area above/around Loch Avon finishing on the summit of Cairngorm and a run down to Coire Cas in about 10 minutes. Snow conditions were very poor and only the top of Ptharmigan area was being used for regular skiing. Skins very easy to put on and off and was amazed at how steeply you can slide uphill.

Wednesday was a crap day with a poor forecast so we headed south with an attempt to dander up Scheillion but we were beat off below the op at 900m after getting blown over . Stayed near Crieff with the smell from the Famous Grouse distillery which Sandra got addicted too. Thursday morning was an easy dander up Ben Chonzie in a biting cold wind and then off to the airport where I dropped Sandra off and collected 4 friends from home. Slight issues ref Sandra booking meant extra use of credit card but the less said about this the better!
We went to Oban staying in the excellent refurbished 5star SYHA. Snowed heavily overnight. We missed the boat for Mull the next morning to we then headed for Ben Cruachan. Parked near the power station and climbed a narrow path up to the reservoir then up a rising traverse in ever deepening snow climbing steep slopes towards a col at 900 as the sun came. Had a few avalanche moments with deep snow sliding everywhere unto we got onto the ridge proper, Curachan is a fab hill , it stands at 3700ft and ridge has 5 tops over 3000ft, is a long way up from the road at just above sea level, a clockwise tour over the ridge with some fantastic views in 18in of unmarked fresh snow. A few rock steps and narrow sections kept the interest up.  Long way down again but deep snow made for pleasant decent and return to mothership in darkness.
Saturday we made the 8am boat to Mull, hired the only car available an ancient smallish Citroen thing, which the 5 of us squeezed into, drove around the island and climbed Ben More. Up and down in 4 hours but views were non existent, on route back we changed drivers resulting in the loss of the exhaust and a noisy trip back to Criagnure ferry. When returning the car the owner just laughed and said he thought that would happen!

Headed home on Sunday evening ferry. New Stenna ferries are excellency and new terminal at Cairnryan much better that Stranaer.

02 Feb 2012
Alan Tees

How many left now?

02 Feb 2012

Still 50 to go, have somehow started on repeats for Sandra! All mine NW of the Great Glen now, small tent, pair of trainers and a mad weeks bagging required before midgies start.

08 Feb 2012

Well done Keith

14 Feb 2012
Alan Tees

We are planning to go over in April for two weeks, no dates yet, but after Easter. Meet up?

Photo of Route