Sunshine and Showers

26th December 2022

It was a day of sunshine and showers. It was cold (summit temperatures of around minus five degrees Celcius) with strong South-Westerly to Westerly winds. The older snowpack which was quite damp yesterday has frozen solid. Showers were depositing fresh areas of windslab. These were generally not particularly extensive, but were were poorly bonded. Further wild winter weather expected tomorrow.

A screenshot of the Met Office rainfall radar at around 2pm this afternoon. As can be seen these is plenty of shower activity across the Highlands. As you would expect with a Westerly wind, the West side of the country is getting more precipitation. However a few heavy showers did sneak though to the Cairngorms.

Car queuing at the Hayfield in Glenmore due to the ski road being closed for a period this morning. Although the weather looks quite nice in the picture, is was just after a heavy snow shower which was drifting onto the road in the strong winds. 

I had always assumed that the Hayfield got its name from at some time in the past being used to produce hay. However, I recently heard an alternative theory that during the building of the ski road a contractor (or subcontractor) called Hay was used. This contractor used the area now called the Hayfield to store equipment and materials. If anyone knows if this is true or not, it would be great to hear via the comments section at the end of this post.

This picture sums up the current snowpack. Old hard neve (probably pretty good for climbing on) with a new soft snow drifting on top in locations.

Looking into Coire an t-Sneachda. This name translates as Corrie of the Snow. I am not sure why it get that name as in the summer the snow last longer in both neighbouring coires; Coire Cas and Coire an Lochan. 

Two walkers out enjoying atmospheric/stormy views between showers on the plateau.

Looking over to Carn Etchacan area between showers.

Comments on this post

  • Kevin
    26th December 2022 6:51 pm

    I had always been told that the Hayfield used to be called Herons Field after the name of the contractor involved in building the road/ski area.

    • ncairngormsadmin
      27th December 2022 2:18 pm

      Thanks for the comment, now you mention it I do remember it being called the Heron’s field. Sounds likely a contractor was involved a some point.

  • Mehmet Karatay
    27th December 2022 4:00 pm

    One suggestion I’ve come across is that the early maps makers likely transposed the names Coire an t-Sneachda (Coire of the Snow) and Coire Cas (Steep/Difficult Corrie). Both names fit better when swapped. The idea is that the early cartographers either:
    1. made an honest mistake,
    2. spoke to an incomer who didn’t know any better, or
    3. were misled on purpose.

    Here is some information that I have in the back of my mind about all of this but I can’t say where it came from so don’t trust what I write too much:
    I believe the early map makers were mostly English who had been sent up to map the area for better military control after/around the time of the Jacobite uprisings. The cartographers would speak to the local ‘civilised’ population, usually the school masters or clergy who had moved into the area and who therefore spoke better English. However these people, often didn’t know the area as well as the locals and so could give out wrong information without meaning to. The third option is that the map makers may have spoken to the locals who actively didn’t want the English maps to be accurate and so gave out false information. I’ve heard that used to happen sometimes, but whether it did in this instance there’s no way to tell and I can’t see what the benefit the transposition of two adjacent names would hold.

    • ncairngormsadmin
      28th December 2022 2:46 pm

      Great response, thanks for the comment. I had not heard the idea before, but makes sense.

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