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Jason Bonniface,

Monday, 19 April 2010

Easter 2010 - Sun & Snow

Plenty of plans for further skiing have been hatched, but none have come to fruition yet, with the exception of an evening plod on the Monadhliath moors behind Tomatin. With plenty of snow left on the Cairngorms in particular though, who knows. We got out and about a little though over Easter with a family trip to Farr Beach at Bettyhill on Good Friday.

Farr Beach, Bettyhill, a stunningly beautiful spot

And a trip to Tomatin where we were met by 40cm of snow on the ground and had to dig our way in...

.....and naturally build an igloo. The Scotland-Landscapes igloo builders, Jason & Gavin posing. It was all for the kids of course.

Skiing on the moorland tracks behind Tomatin at around 400m late in the evening. These hills have been snow covered almost the whole time between mid December and Easter.

Just a few days later we had the kids eating tea al fresco in the garden on Scotland's north coast, but that was before the winds turned northerly again!

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Jason Bonniface, 19/04/2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010

20th March 2010 - Ben Hope Ski

What a difference 3 weeks makes! Between the 27/28th Feb and the 20th March a gradual thaw set in across the Highlands which picked up speed around the middle of March. The morning of the 20th March wasn't great with cloud and mizzle on the hill.

The north-west face of Ben Hope on the afternoon of the 27th Feb. I had hoped to ski Ben Hope on the 28th but the foot of snow on the single track road made me turn back in case of further snow.

The same view on the morning of the 20th March - not much left for the skis

Not until I reached the upper southern bowl of the hill anyway. In the end I got a very pleasant ski up from 700m to the summit with just a short carry of the skis and then managed a fun descent to nearly 550m, piecing together the lower snow patches with a couple of short heather sections. The weather wasn't helpful with the photos though, and I have none from this trip that get anywhere close to doing the hill justice.

There were 2 guys making their way up the hill as I descended the lower slopes and they clearly thought I was a complete crack pot as I picked my way down towards them with ski boots on and skis towering above me on my back! From their location the hill looked almost bare of snow.

In the afternoon I meandered along Strathmore, over to Altnaharra and then Kinbrace on the way back east. It turned into a beautiful spring afternoon.

Dun Dornaigil near Alltnacaillich in Strathmore - an ancient broch.

Showers shroud Ben Armine across Loch Badanloch from the Strathnaver to Kinbrace road. Ben Klibreck is rising into the cloud on the far right of the photo.

Lovely spring sun at Kinbrace with a view of the two Ben Griams - Mor and Beg

As I write the Highlands have just had another heavy fall of snow, a train has been stuck at Slochd and roads closed. So much for spring, not that late March or early April snow is uncommon though. I'm hatching plans to get to the hills for another ski but its never easy getting away with young children and lots going on!

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Jason Bonniface, 01/04/2010