Every year at this time my wife drops me off in Glenmore and I walk back to Newtonmore using a little network of footpaths, forest tracks and trails. This year my brother in law Raymond Bainbridge volunteered to join me - he’ll be joining my wife and myself on next year’s TGO Challenge. What I didn’t know was that Raymond had never camped in winter before. Boy, was he in for a baptism of ice!
We left a snow smothered Glenmore in temperatures of around -5C. We had decided to use snowshoes. Under cloudless blue skies we made our way past Loch Morlich, through Rothiemurchus to Loch an Eilean where we took the narrow trail to Inshriach Bothy. The snow on the trees was so heavy that many of the birches and pines were bent double - which made it quite difficult for us to get through.
We stopped for a few minutes at Inshriach and by the time we left it felt as though the temperature had plummeted. The sun had gone down by now and as we snowshoed through Inshriach Forest towards Feshiebridge it became dark, although out way was lit by the light of the half-moon. It was superb, very atmospheric and almost surreal.
We camped between Feshiebridge and Ballintean. We stamped platforms down on the deep snow and had a pretty good camp. A little burn ran past so we didn’t have to melt snow for drinks. During the night the temperature dropped to about -15C, although I stayed pretty comfortable in my litle Hilleberg Akto. I was testing a new sleeping bag and stove and one or two other bits and pieces that I’ll be reviewing later in TGO but everything worked pretty well.
Cloud covered the sky come morning so the temperatures weren’t quite as low but it was still sub-freezing - enough to get us up and away quite sharp on our way via Insh, Inveruglas and Drumguish to Kingussie and Newtonmore. A great trip using snow shoes to negotiate the deep snow. May these conditions prevail just a bit longer… The only place I’ve had a colder camp was on Baffin Island!