Just me & the deer
2nd March 2023
Today my journey in search of snow took me into the southern end of the Fannich’s. Dry, calm and clear conditions gave some stunning views into this remote part of the Torridon forecast area. It felt remote, but I certainly wasn’t alone, literally passing a couple of hundred hinds & stags on the cycle into the East end of Loch Fannich.
The first photo below gives a good feel as to how little snow now remains in the NW Highlands and also an indication of why I saw so many deer hanging out, clearly attracted by the supplementary winter feed and salt licks I spotted on route. The mountain in the background is An Coileachan (932m) looking into the east facing coires of Garbh Choire Mor & Garbh Choire Beag.
My intention was to explore how extensive the remaining snow patches are which are now limited to steep North through East to South-East aspects above 800m. To my surprise I spotted some ‘mountaineering deer’ heading up the steep (c30 degree) coire headwall of Garbh Choire Beag. Look carefully at the photo below, a red arrow points to the deer. I guess those ‘hoofs’ make pretty good crampons? Certainly all the snow patches I crossed were firm/icy with some serious runouts below.
The summit cairn at 923m gave a hint of winter with rimming on it’s North & East aspect.
And views looking North towards Sgurr Mor & Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich give a good indication of where the snow patches are still remaining.
And finally, some interesting ‘riming’ on the surface of the old snow on an East aspect at 900m. Unless this fragile layer becomes buried under new snowfall then it poses no hazard.
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2nd March 2023 6:42 pm
I’ve seen similar ‘mountaineering deer’ ascending steep snow slopes above Gleann Taitneach beyond Dalmunzie House in the SE Cairngorms – a herd of over 30 all strung out in single file following a leader like a group of Victorian climbers short roped together. I suppose it’s quite easy for them to retain 3 points of contact and their hooves probably penetrate the snow easier than a climbing boot…?
3rd March 2023 8:25 am
Thanks Keith. I had only seen this once before at the head of Glen Einich. That time, I followed their line and certainly needed my axe & crampons!