The weather forecast for today looked quite good, with some snow forecast for the afternoon. Driving up from Glasgow through Stirling and Perth the Ochils were covered in a thick blanket of snow, although the roads were clear. Even travelling up the A9 there was very little snow about, and it was until we’d headed out west beyond Aberfeldy that we started to see it at ground level.
Turning onto the Schiehallion road the landscape changed immediately, with old snow covering the ground, and a light snow shower starting to fall. Predictably when we pulled in to the Braes of Foss car park the summit wasn’t visible, enshrouded in wintry clouds. After wrapping up against the cold, we set off up the path – a sprinkling of snow either side – and started the ascent, the snow getting thicker as we climbed. There was quite a bit of cloud so the views weren’t great, but they lifted enough at one point for a glimpse of Loch Tummel.
By now the snow was quite deep, maybe 15cms with drifts up to a metre, which made the going simultaneously slow and fun.
Once up onto the main ridge there was a bit of a blizzard blowing, reducing the visibility to about 100 metres or so, and the temperature to about -15 degrees Celcius with the wind chill. Janet had never climbed Schiehallion before and was a bit apprehensive about continuing to the summit, so despite being about 10 minutes from the top, we turned around and started to make our way back down the mountain. Coming down a snow-covered mountain is considerably more fun than going up one, slipping and sliding through the drifts.
After enjoying the novelty of taking massive strides in the snow and getting back to the bottom in double-quick time, we headed along to Loch Rannoch in the hope of getting a good photo of Schiehallion from it’s pointy end in the setting sunlight, but the snow and sky were merging into one and the sun was nowhere to be seen.
And with that we headed to Pitlochry and – of course! – the Moulin Inn for tea.