Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Fionn Bheinn Skitour (Achnasheen)

Still very cold; skitouring conditions are excellent but motoring is sometimes challenging. The remote control for unlocking my car met a soggy end some years ago, forcing me to open it with a key like everyone used to in the old days. This old-fashioned ritual becomes problematic when all the locks are choked with ice. Last week at Cairngorm I was fortunate enough to have some warm dregs in my flask which I used to free up the lock. When I got back to the car after a thirsty Sunday morning skitour my flask was empty but with a little cunning I was still able to use its contents to open the door!

Fionn Bheinn is an outlier of the Fannichs whose peathagged slopes rise above Achnasheen. It's not the most inspring hill I have ever climbed but it is both a short ascent and very accessible, being within an hour's drive of Inverness  This makes it a great choice for around the solstices; either as a quick hit on a summer's evening after work or, as I experienced it on the 27th, an excellent skitour for the short days of midwinter. It is at its best when the peat hags that scar its slopes are filled with snow, but its isolated position makes it a fine viewpoint at any time of year.

Slioch from the summit of Fionn Bheinn.

The ridge of Liathach caught  the early morning sun as I ascended Fionn Bheinn. Beinn Eighe is to the right

View towards Slioch from Fionn Bheinn

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Blogger Robert Craig said...

Glad you're getting out. I'd love a few days in the Highlands right now.

The top pic - isn't it Slioch?

31 December 2009 at 12:07  
Blogger Unknown said...

You're quite right, I've added another wider angle pic that shows the same view. Definitely Slioch.

31 December 2009 at 20:51  
Anonymous Colin L said...

Fantastic pics Gavin, the second one in particular captures the beauty of the skies up here. What sort of kit do you use in your ski tours? Your skis don't look like the the long skinny Nordic types.
(I was hoping to get some skiing at Aviemore myself but I've been housebound with a chest infection, reduced to watching the snow from the house. I hope you weren't out when that hailstorm thundered by yesterday--caught one the size of marble from from my window!)

31 December 2009 at 23:04  
Blogger Unknown said...

Get well soon Colin. I use an alpine touring setup, you need decent downhill performance for mountain ski tours. Wish I some had some lightweight nordic kit too, it would be very handy for dogwalking.

1 January 2010 at 21:52  

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