Stormy Day on Cairngorm

10th January 2023

It is a rare day in the winter when the wind here at Cairngorm doesn’t play a major part in your decision making and today was no exception.  The classic South-South-East wind delivered again, ensuring some strategic vehicle parking before even heading on the hill.  Top Tip: Make sure you park ‘nose into wind’ on days like this or risk damage to your car doors.  All ski uplift was closed, the wind even closing down the new ‘magic carpets’.

It was snowing at car park level (635m) as we headed out on foot towards Coire an’t Sneachda.  The photo below illustrates the challenging conditions at around 750m on the Sneachda track.  Underfoot was super icy as well where the old snow had been compacted by boots.

At around 800m there was significant drifting of new snow and more snow fall than expected.  Below the SAIS Cairngorm Area Manager, still smiling in the harsh conditions!

To avoid the treacherous, icy track we took an alternative line out of the corrie, passing a hardy Scots Pine tree.  Usually of course trees grow upright, not here at Cairngorm.  The Scots Pine here are exposed to a process called ‘Krummholz’.  A generic word to describe stunted, deformed vegetation encountered in sub arctic and sub alpine landscapes; shaped by continual exposure to fierce, freezing winds….










Comments on this post

  • david eardley
    10th January 2023 3:08 pm

    Thanks for bringing us this, despite the harsh conditions.
    We are heading up this Friday and with the forecast of more snow, I really appreciate the updates.


    • ncairngormsadmin
      10th January 2023 3:58 pm

      Hi David,
      thanks for your correspondence, it looks cold with further snow for the next few days, have a great weekend.

  • Johnny D
    11th January 2023 4:23 pm

    “Krummholz”. Great to learn a new word, every day is a school day! Keep up the great work.

    • ncairngormsadmin
      15th January 2023 5:17 pm

      Thank you Johnny.

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