Six brave souls made it to the (cleared)
Glen Tanar car park, on a chilly (-9°C) Sunday morning, half on
ski, half on foot.
Once over the bridge (awkward for skiers) to the Visitor Centre,
the group sped along to the chapel to get the feel of the snow
and relative speeds, and at the junction the plowterers on foot
headed directly up the Firmounth path while the slitherers on
ski, went up the Tanar and then the Allachy.
Conditions were great; blue skies overhead, and masses of snow
Near the ford at 482821, the two groups met again, but continued
their separate ways, the plowterers aiming for Tom Guibhais on
the other side of the Allachy while the slitherers headed uphill
to the Firmounth path.
What happened to the former group is explained below, but
apparently the prospect of fording the Allachy did not appeal,
and they returned down the glen. Anyway, they were back in the
warmth and comfort of the Visitor Centre and their car at about
2pm, and had to wait an hour for the others to return.
Meanwhile, the slitherers battled uphill, discussing the merits
of wax, skins and fishscales, ploughing a new track over
undisturbed snow to the top of the woods at about 490915. From
here, a wide view included Lochnagar although its cliffs were so
white that it looked positively undistinguished amongst the
other eminences (Mount Keen, etc.) around.
Then it was down the main Firmounth path, with Telemark turns
tricky in the two deep channels left by previous skiers
(followed apparently by several herds of elephants using the
same route). Hopes of a long gentle slide down to Glen Tanar
House were dashed by long, level (and tree-blinded) stretches,
but nevertheless it was a satisfying end to the day out (except
for the occasional fall).
Thanks to Cross country skiers, us
'walkers' were able to make reasonable progress in snow that was
about 20 inches deep.
A circular walk was completed starting at the East side of the
river, up the Firmounth and then back down to the right to the
river. Basically we circled the 'Strone' Hill.
Along the way we kept on bumping into lots of people, skiers,
walkers and even a mountain biker. We came across another
walking group - The Granite City Hillwalking Club who seemed to
be doing our walk in reverse.
The walk was followed by a nice cup of tea at the ex-Presidents
house along with some
lovely home baking.