Braw Day

17th January 2022

A dry day in the Northern Cairngorms with moderate winds from the West-North-West, made for an excellent opportunity to visit the plateau and check out the snow distribution.

The reality is that the snow cover is sparse and patchy. At lower elevations just isolated patches remain in sheltered stream beds, or steep banks such as the moraines in Coire an t-Sneachda. These ribbons of snow give way to exposed boulder fields in Coire an t-Sneachda. With remaining patches of snow isolated on steep ground such as coire back walls, gullies and East facing ridge flanks.

Despite the relatively mild temperatures (see below), the snow surface remained widely frozen particularly above 950-1000 metres. This is due to the current high pressure system, humidity and the effect of radiation cooling.

Some figures: 9 degrees Celsius on Cairngorm Summit, 9 degrees Celsius at Inverness Airport, 6.1 degrees Celsius at Cairnwell Summit.

Little change is expected tomorrow and the avalanche hazard will remain low. Other hazards remain, notably that of firm and icy snow in many steep locations. An unchecked slip or fall is likely to be consequential at the moment given the paucity of good run-outs!


Looking into the Northern Cairngorms from Inverdruie this morning at dawn. As young people say #nofilter on this one. Lenticular clouds indicating strong winds aloft and some good flying conditions for glider pilots.


Cover is sparse, patchy and in many cases confined to steep slopes. Areas such as the ‘Goat Track’ (pictured here) are really consequential with firm snow stopping abruptly in boulders or steep grass. Travel with caution, the consequences of a fall are significant at the moment.


Looking south from the top of the ‘Goat Track’. Coire Domhain, Ben Macdui, the top of Coire Sputan Dearg and the domain of the Southern Cairngorm forecasting area. There was a fair amount of verglas (fine ice glazing boulders) around this morning, evident in the foreground of this image.


Firm snow ice (névé) in ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, providing a nice route to the plateau rim for some solo climbers.

Comments on this post

  • That Guy from The Internet
    17th January 2022 6:11 pm

    Awesome photos. A visual treat!

    • ncairngormsadmin
      18th January 2022 3:30 pm


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