A Difference a Day Makes!

21st March 2018

One of the most miserable days of the season today and after such a good one yesterday. But of course we do live in a maritime climate. Mild, cloudy, wet and windy. However, although thawing at all levels, the snowpack remains generally stable and good amounts above 650 metres, although large bare areas are appearing.

No need to go any further or get any wetter in Coire an Laoigh, Beinn Eighe… The snowpack will be very similar throughout and no views either higher in the coire.

As good as it got looking out of Coire an Laoigh during a all too brief lull in the rain!! A diminishing snowpack particularly at the lower elevations.

Even the frogs were washed out of their burrows…!

Thought I’d put this one in from yesterday with the mountains named. And before you complain, there are 4 Munros and 5 Corbetts – and Liathach main summit is 1055m not 1023m.

OK, the answers to the quiz. Thanks for all the thousands of replies….. Or at least to those that did comment.

Q1 Vole runs/holes underneath the snowpack, usually lined with dead grasses. Remember, the temperature at ground level underneath the snow is normally at 0C – quite warm and sheltered really….

Q2 Water run-off over the grassy surface. But the black colour is a staining of the grass by ‘oily’ seepage water. The ‘oil’ comes from the anaerobic decomposition of ground vegetation – a similar process that gave us oil and gas fields. I’m sure you’ve all seen the watery slicks on the hillside and that rotting smell that accompanies it. It usually remains below the surface, but with frozen ground this winter, it had appeared as run-off.

Q3 Glide cracks in the snowpack. In this instance, full depth snow creep on steep slabby rock, probably from the last period of thaw. This is a common location for it to occur. And may well have slide further after today’s rain and thawing conditions.

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