Although there was no snow to be seen yesterday, the forecast was for a heavy snowfall last night, so I had driven over to stay with my parents in Stanley to get a headstart on the snow this morning. And I was glad I did – waking up today there was 6 inches of snow lying on the ground, and more falling.
I nearly didn’t make it out of my parents’ road, but once onto the main road through the village the going was a bit easier, although very slow. The traffic was crawling up the A9 at 30mph so it took much longer than normal to get to Pitlochry. I parked the car in town, bundled myself up against the cold and the snow, and headed up towards Moulin, at the back of Pitlochry. There was about 8 inches of snow here, it being quite a bit higher up than Stanley. Rounding a corner the Moulin Hotel was looking resplendent in its winter coat.
To begin with there’s a farm track to follow, which a few people had obviously been along already, so it’s not difficult to know where you’re going.
But after a few hundred metres the track cuts across the golf course and up towards the woods, and here there was nothing but pristine drifted snow.
Some of the drifts were a couple of feet deep and bore no relation to what was underneath them, so progress here was interesting to say the least, as I tried to find the path. It was all good fun though, and I had soon reached the cottage where the path begins to follow the wall along the top edge of the golf course. Some of the drifts here were pretty spectacular.
Although the tree cover had filtered out some of the snow there were still deep drifts covering the path, but most of the snow was around 12 inches deep, making for slow (but fun) progress. Emerging from the forest at the top I could see that the path leading up to the summit of Craigower was completely covered in drifted snow.
By the time I got to the top of the path I’d been wading through snow up to the tops of my legs – almost 3 feet – but it was all good fun, and I soon reached the summit itself to be confronted with more of the same. I had a wander around the summit looking for the deepest drifts I could find, but I couldn’t find any that came over my waist!
There was no view to speak of as I sat on the bench at the viewpoint eating my sandwiches and drinking a flask of lentil soup, but it was enjoyable nonetheless, catching brief glimpses through the blizzard of the forest below.
I retraced my steps (literally! ) back down the hill, and it was almost like ski-ing. I was taking huge steps safe in the knowledge that the deep snow would stop me from sliding too far. Once back into the forest I was kicking myself for not bringing a mini sledge with me – the run down the long, steep, straight track would have been amazing!
As it was I made slower progress (although a lot faster than the walk up the way), stopping occasionally to take photos of the snowy firs.
It wasn’t long before I was back following the wall along the edge of the golf course.
There still wasn’t much of a view as the snow continued to sweep in on the wind.
As I passed the Moulin Hotel I caught a waft of hot food escaping from the kitchen, and the temptation to go in was hard to resist, but I managed and continued on back down to the car before heading home to Dundee.