Sunday 28 February 2010

Snowy wander to Ryvoan Bothy

Bynack More was the original idea, but I think me & Andy both kind of knew that there was liable to be a bit of snow lying which would make a hill ascent less than certain. Admittedly we were surprised at how clear the A9 was. Apart from a few relatively brief sections where there was a lot of cleared snow piled up at the roadside, you'd never have thought that the snowgates had been closed not long earlier. Indeed the reports on Traffic Scotland that morning (Saturday) were claiming it was down to one lane at Dalwhinnie. No evidence of that by the time we got there. The only Dalwhinnie-related incident of note was the confused/idiotic/suicidal Dutch motorist who decided to emerge from the wrong slip road lane onto the main road just as we arrived at the junction. It's lucky yon Defender can't go fast or we'd have been there on time for an accident.


Once in Aviemore it transpired that the ski road was still closed, so there were an awful lot of folk wandering about and parking up wherever suited them just to get out for a trek in the snow - and there was plenty of the stuff around.

Suffice it to say that as soon as we set off down the road to Glenmore Lodge we realised that we'd be nowhere near Bynack More even if we walked for the week. So a gentle dander towards Ryvoan bothy seemed in order. The normal parking spot just beyond Glenmore Lodge was, er, shut.

The track itself was fair enough - plenty of folk had broken a trail already.

but after the Green Lochan (mair white today, of course) ...

...we would be into the waist deep stuff. In the meantime I was continuing to enjoy what I had come to cleverly refer to as "Snowy Trees".

It has to be accepted that we would have been in grave danger of becoming hopelessly lost had Jorja no' sniffed out and then dug out the Braemar signpost.

There were numerous groups of winter-skillers making the most of the conditions, and we were treated to any number of views of slithering ice axe arrestees and associated educational lifesaving activity. If you look closely at the photie of the bothy you can just about make out the snowholing that was going on towards the right of the picture. Deep thereabouts.

A couple of hours wading through it saw us complete a triumphant circumnavigation of the bothy, and at that point we broke into the flasks and pieces, enjoyed an al fresco lunchstop with added helicopter...

...and then made a dignified withdrawal back to Aviemore.

It was a really good day. Achieved nothing mind, but playing in all that snow made me feel like I was a wean again. And the Wee Black Dug loved it. She was very nearly tired at the end of it.


  1. Perfect :)

    I'm off up that way tomorrow morning, now I know what to expect...can't wait.

    What soft of distance do you think is doable on foot?

  2. Hard to say - but we were comprehensively beaten! I've done Bynack More before (a while ago right enough) but even with that knowledge of the route it was impossible yesterday to get a vague idea of where the path starting from that signpost was supposed to be. We were literally wading through waist deep stuff as soon as we left the path to the bothy and forward progress was well-nigh impossible. We noticed a winter skills leader nearby breaking the trail for his charges by crawling on all fours to spread his weight, so that gives an idea I suppose!

    You're probably no' four stone overweight like me, mind you, so that's bound to help.


    We were certainly thinking snowshoes would have been the only answer to get anywhere across that stuff, but maybe if you could locate the actual path it would be a bit easier.

    I'm not helping much, am I?


  3. 4 stone, yeah that's about right... ;)

    I'm keeping it low level so we'll see how I get on...

  4. Lucky Jorja found that sign or you'd still be there yet! Do like snowy trees myself and that is a great walk out to Ryvoan especially along the high path that winds its way through the native woodland.

    A bit too much snow for me :lol: !

  5. Was the snow really deep or is that a very short signpost? :o) Looks magic regardless. Love a bit of Snowy Trees myself.