Thursday, 3 November 2011

Sgor Gaoith: Mountain of the Winds

Sgor Gaoith (Peak of the Wind) is an aptly named Munro at the western end of the Northern Cairngorms.  It forms a great whaleback that looms above Glen Feshie to the West, with a spectacularly craggy eastern rim that towers above Loch Einich.
Finding ourselves in that neck of the woods last week, on Friday last we picked this windy hill for a quick jaunt before heading south again. The forecast was for gales, and the Gaelic name for the mountain told us what to expect, so we wrapped up warm, and headed up through the forest from Glen Feshie to the ridge. Regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of the ancient scots pine forests that persist on the fringes of the Cairngorms. The woodland on the approaches to Sgor Gaoith was particularly special.

A forest of scots pines.

Heading up on to the open hill, the rich autumn colours of the grasses and heather helped to warm what was a cold and bleak landscape. A golden eagle soared overhead until it began to rain. 

 It was a steady climb above the forest on to the open moor. 

We lost the visibility for a while, and navigated from the bealach of Carn Ban Mor across the plateau to the summit. We soon became aware of a precipice on our right, and in the strong winds did not venture near the edge. The clouds began to lift as the gale increased, and as we began our descent, the views came back. 

 Looking down the descent ridge towards Geal Charn

We descended the long ridge of Geal Charn in a blustering gale before tottering down screes to a pass above the forest.  From here a muddy track lead back in to the forest with ease. Once back in the relative shelter of the woods it was possible to linger and enjoy the autumn colours once more. The birches in particular were just at that golden stage in their leaf that sends tree freaks like me in to ecstasies. 

Amongst the trees again.

No comments: