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View From the West: Winter Walking in the West Highlands

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 by Sarah Morton

I used to think a cloud-free Munro was some sort of technical weather term, the only time I ever heard it mentioned was on a weather broadcast and had absolutely no reason to even consider my assumption to be marginally wrong.  I now know better.

Since relocating to the Highlands a mere four weeks ago, I have discovered that a cloud-free Munro is in fact, something pretty sought after by Scottish climbers, and I was lucky enough to experience one of these for myself just last weekend.

I headed over to Glencoe in the West Highlands, with a group of climbers, to try my first Scottish winter walking ascent and test out my shiny new kit.  We arrived at the bothy pretty late in the evening, so the opportunity to take in the views didn’t come until the next morning, and I was quite literally blown away the moment I opened the rickety front door.  The scenery was stunning, even with the clouds and rain.

The first days climbing was pretty Arctic – I was pelted with 50mph winds, rain, snow, and hailstones the size of golf balls.  That said, the smile didn’t leave my face all day, and I certainly deserved a large glass of red and double helping of venison casserole that evening.

Second day was a different story altogether, blue bird skies and a foot of fresh, fluffy snow to crunch through.  It was in these fine, cloud-free, conditions that I climbed my first Munro.  The rest of the group described the whole weekend as a bit of a baptism of fire, and I suppose I would agree, but really I wouldn’t have had it any other way – the view from the top was a perfect range of shimmery, white peaks as far as the eye could see.  Before I even had time to get home, and jump in a hot shower, I was already planning my next winter walking adventure.

If, like me, hiking up hills and through snow is your thing don’t miss our very last Winter Walking trip for this season in The Cairngorms and Creag Meagaidh.

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