"...il più grande alpinista al mondo è quello che si diverte di più" Alex Lowe

martedì 13 marzo 2012

Cairngorm National Park, Scozia

Alcune immagini del nostro corrispondente Adam (reduce tra l'altro da una recente visita in Italia), durante un week end esplorativo nel Cairngorm National Park. Si tratta di una regione della Scozia tra le più fredde, dove il clima estremo ne ha causato uno scarso popolamento. La catena montuosa è poco più che un altopiano dove si trovano ben cinque delle sei montagne più alte della Scozia. Nonostante la fama di luogo gelido e abbondantemente nevoso, quest' anno le precipitazioni sono state molto scarse anche in quelle zone. Il gruppo ha raggiunto la cima del monte Cairn Gorm, che con i suoi ben 1245 m è la sesta montagna più alta del Regno Unito. Ma ricordiamoci che in Scozia non sono le dimensioni che contano....

After having been skiing in many places around Europe, but never in Scotland, we decided that we must give it a go, so we planned to head to Aviemore, in the Cairngorm National Park. We booked the trip about 2 weeks before, and at that time the snow was looking good, so planned to go skiing for the weekend.

Scotland is not hugely known for it's downhill skiing due to the small number of lifts, with many of them being very old and slow; instead it is known for its great wilderness, and seemingly endless rolling hillsides – perfect for cross country skiing.

The week before leaving for Scotland I had bought a pair of cross country skis in anticipation for the trip. However, what I didn't anticipate was the change in weather – unfortunately (for us) the weather warmed to around 10-15°C in the week before which melted all but a few small patches of snow!

So, skiing was a no-go, but we still headed to Scotland on the Friday afternoon. Instead of skiing, we decided to walk on both the Sunday and Saturday. Our planned route for the Saturday was to walk to the top of Cairn Gorm – at 1245m it is the 6th highest mountain in the UK – but very small elsewhere in Europe! Nearing the top of the mountain, the speed of the wind began to increase, and on reaching the top is was very difficult to even stand up! We cowered behind a weather station to eat lunch and then continued down the mountain. On getting back to the accommodation, we checked the data reading from the station online – the wind speed when we were on top was 55 mph (88km/h), gusting up to 70 mph (113 kp/h)!

We covered about 10 miles on the Saturday, and a further 10-12 miles on the Sunday. Unfortunately at altitude there was a lot of cloud so couldn't get any pictures high up, but as you can see from the pictures I managed to take, it is very beautiful countryside, especially for the time of year (I'm sure in summer it would look even better).

So, just a little report from Scotland this time, but I hope that next year there will be plenty of snow and I can give a more in depth report!

Maybe next winter we will also be joined by the Lambrusco alpinists?!

Looking down onto the Loch

On the Highlands

Sheltering from the wind

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