Time and place : A postcard from Aviemore. 1st to 4th February 2004
Occasion : A four day trip to Scotland with other members of staff of George Fisher of Keswick. (not a sponsored trip so this is the only mention they get !)
Details : Hopefully a chance to ski, snow-board or walk the hills of the Cairngorm area, depending on our inclinations on the day.
Weather : Snow in prospect but so was a mild spell of south westerlies !
Home sweet home for a few days - The old Smithy in Nethy Bridge.
Stewart and Julie on the first morning.
They had dug the snow out of the drive the night before to get the car in.
The bottom station at Cairngorm Resort.
Overcast skies but with a reasonable covering of snow on the ground.
Up at altitude, 1067 metres to be precise, the temperature was below freezing as we prepared for the first run.
Jonathon on short Blades, Stewart and the rest of us on skis, and Richard on his backside !! (sorry snow-board)
Top of the first short T bar ski tow - Peter and Julie.
Up again to the top ski slope - Stewart and Peter.
We managed 13 ski runs and nearly four thousand feet of ski descent during the day.
Only fell over a few times - but if you don't then you're not trying hard enough.
After several top runs we took the traverse down to the Sheiling station
and returned by the wonderfully named M1 pomma ski tow.
Taking the last picture the ski tow and I parted company (embarrassing or what) and so I was able to take this shot of the train entering the top tunnel. Small recompense for the extra walk.
The weather was now changing fast as can be seen. The temperature had risen 10 degrees during the day and the blue patches in the sky were interspersed with occasional sleet or rain showers and low cloud.
The Cairngorm Funicular Railway
The quickest and easiest way to the top to start the day and an alternative way off at the end.
The second day we investigated the Lecht Ski area at Tomintoul.
The snow here was as poor as Cairngorm so this was the extent of our skiing - a cup of coffee at the cafe.
The forecast for the tops was 30-40 mph winds and occasional showers. The snow had gone.
After our morning drive to the Lecht, we opted for a low level walk around Loch Morlich in the afternoon.
Becky here spotting two red squirrels high in the trees.
The strong wind causing sizeable waves on the sandy beach of the loch.
Behind are the mountains of the Brieriach range, south west of Cairngorm.
Richard trying out his packlite overtrousers - back to front - to see if they work as well in the rain !
Why ? . . . well you'll have to ask him.
Sunshine on Meall a' Buachaille as we round the lake.
Julie stops for a plaster for her foot.
The River Luineag at its outflow from the lake.
Crowd scene on the bridge.
Jonathon, Peter, Stewart, Julie, Becky, Richard (somewhere) and myself (pressing the shutter)
A sunny spell with all the tops clear.
Close up on the Cairngorm itself. The Car park and bottom station are at the botton of the center white 'V'
The white stripes are what is left of the ski runs, and the Ptarmigan restaurant lies on the coll to the left of the summit.
The Sailing Club, Loch Morlich.
A early evening's swim and sauna at the local Hilton Hotel was followed by
evening's entertainment at the local Scottish/Italian Pizza and Pasta house . . .
. . . and a few beers back at the cottage.
Lets take a picture of Julie's blisters and text them to a friend.
Not a great advert for the Boot section, but then she did leave her own lighter boots behind and grabbed the nearest test boots and crampons before she rushed out last Sunday.
Unfortunately the warm weather meant the taking of crampons was rather a waste of time this year as all the walking we did was low level.
Better luck next time.
The last morning - a low level walk again - to Loch Garten
The Ospreys had long ago flown south so there was no point in visiting the woodland hide.
A walk through the forest was called for instead.
Peter, Richard and Stewart.
The water of the lake was a rich peaty colour with the occasional small floating patch of ice.
The Caledonian Pine Forest on a grey morning.
Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
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