One of our favourites, today saw us return to Creag nan Gabhar. We were unsure what to expect as the snow appeared to have shifted quite a bit. Mildly optimistic that we might find some on the descent towards Loch Callater, we set off fully loaded with crampons, ice axe and Kahtoolas! Looking back, you’d wonder why we’d bothered!
A Dusting of Snow
On the hills around there was a dusting of snow and we could see the snow line ahead. It was a perfect day to be out once again, very little wind and clear skies all around with views down to the loch.
Further up towards the summit of Creag nan Gabhar we encountered a little more consistency in the snow cover. The heather was still popping through in places but there was a little bit of a crunch to it which was quite satisfying!
The Cairngorms were looking particularly fine with a proper covering on the munros, or at least appearing that way from where we stood.
The summit was a little chilly as the breeze was blowing across. We stopped at the cairn for a bite to eat but didn’t sit down as there wasn’t really any shelter from the wind.
Having met only a couple of folks until this point, we met another chap as we headed off. Debating whether to retrace our route or make a circular, Loch Callater won.
Down to the Loch
Initially we followed in the steps of previous walkers, disturbing the odd grouse with Bruce spotting what was either a rock or a mountain hare; as it bounded off across the hill we realised it was the latter.
This slope usually holds the snow well and has a short, steep slope that can be fun for practising winter skills. Sadly today there wasn’t enough snow to practise anything, not even a slide down on a sit mat.
Coming off the snow, the trudge across the heather began. The small peat bog was frozen so that made for a pleasant walk.
Frozen Loch Callater
From higher up, the loch did not appear to be frozen. As we finally reached the bridge we realised that there was still a thin ice covering it, not quite reaching the full way across.
We enjoyed a seat outside the lodge in the sunshine and relaxed for a while before starting the trek back along the track.
Much to my delight, we made it back to The Bothy in Braemar in time for coffee, ending the day perfectly!