© Simon Owens. 2015 

The Cairngorms

16 Mar 2018

 I am not normally one for going on photography tours or workshops, as a self learner and being quite competent in the mountains I have never felt the need. In England I feel quite confident in the mountains in most weather conditions, although a bit more cautious in winter. 


Scotland is a bit of a different beast though, I have aways felt a bit more intimidated with the longer hikes and mountains in winter. So when I saw a workshop advertised for a 5 day adventure with a bit of photography, well, that was just right up my street. The workshop was organised by Guy Richardson, who's site you can see here if you are interested in any of his future dates. Well worth a go if you are looking for a bit of adventure, although he does do some less strenuous stuff too. We were supported by Richard Payne, a qualified Winter Mountain Instructor and an excellent guide for the Scottish mountains. You can find his website here if you are interested in learning more about being in the mountains in winter on his winter skills courses, or for a bit of guiding in the Scottish mountains. 


The trip would take us across The Cairngorms Plateau towards Ben Macdui, down into the Lairig Ghru and on toward Corrour.


Hell's Lum,Cairngorms Plateau, Nikon D610, 24 mm f/2.8  


The next day we did winter skills training, learning how to work on the hills with Ice Axe and Crampons in a much better way than I had picked up from different people and reading. Having someone show you the how and whys is much better and safer, for example on a number of occasions I have chosen to leave my axe behind and I learnt that this is the single most effective tool to have, even over crampons in some occasions in a slip or fall situation. Literally a life saver, so useful to know for future. Later we hiked up the side of The Devils Point putting the skills to test with the ascent being mostly in compacted snow. 


The group hiking across the Cairngorm Plateau  in strong winds and temperatures as low as -17 with the wind factored in. 



On the second image we are just beginning to hike up towards Coire Odhar to tackle The Devils Point. 



 The star image for me had to be from the first morning, where we had the best weather around sunrise, low down at that too. It might have been nicer to be higher up while the weather was right but we were just beginning to explore the area. In the image below you can see The Devils Point to the right, which we were to tackle later that day. The above image was take from the Devils Point that evening, before a descent down in precarious conditions. Well, for us anyway .






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