After driving up to stay closer to Glen Affric last night Duncan and I set off early along Glen Affric to climb Tom a’Choinnich and Toll Creagach if the weather would let us. It was due to be cloudy, wet low down and snowy up high so a classic Scottish hill day was on the cards..
We set off feeling optimistic as it was fairly bright and dry to begin with though by the time we had reached the end of the hydro track the waterproofs were on as we climbed into the snow and cloud. The drifts of snow in the river banks were fantastic and as we headed for the beallach between our two summits there was no sign of life save an illusive mountain hare somewhere. It was minimal visibility in the coire and the winds were getting up as forecast by the time we reached our beallach the goggles were on and shelter was a premium if it could be found.
The route up to Tom a’Choinnich is steep at the top and as we battled our way through the snow and winds we soon had crampons and ice axes out to safely negotiate the summit ridge. It felt like the sun was about to come out and we even saw it through the cloud though the clouds didn’t go away and neither did the falling snow, but it was a good sense of achievement in the conditions. After some photos we headed down the way we had come up and found somewhere for lunch before heading out into the white-room to find the summit of Toll Creagach in much heavier snow showers. Pleased to reach our second summit we didn’t hang around and were soon descending lovely snow slopes when we emerged from the clouds.
As we kept descending the wind became less challenging and the snow stopped for a while before turning to rain, but it was always going to be a damp day in thawing wild weather. It had been a fun and challenging walk and as we headed back to the car we enjoyed a dry spell which was a bonus! It was down to Cannich and the Bog Cotton Cafe for a hot bowl of soup and a scone before driving back to Newtonmore after a successful adventure.