The weather forecast was spot on and last Friday was cold, clear and nearly windless. My walking partner for the day had been detained by floods in Angus but I was able to make it to Clunskea to the east of Pitlochry via the A9 with no difficulties.
Although the conditions were benign, I’d packed my ice axe and crampons but wasn’t expecting to have to use them. A shepherd on a quad was up feeding sheep their ration and the words exchanged then were the last for about 6 hours.
I followed the landie track up by the Tarvie Burn. About 45 mins walk in I came across a fantastical natural dolmen-like jumble of blocks. A few minutes further on a large group of 25+ red deer crossed the track ahead of me, including at least one stag.
I made my way up onto Carn Liath to start the long pull up Drum Mhor to Carn Dubh in perfect weather conditions but the going underfoot was on powdery snow with a thin crust, which made the final slope a slog. However, the views of Ben Vrackie did compensate. Corbetts do often have airy views of the surrounding peaks.
A quick stop on the summit there for the fantastic Co-op Thai cup-a-soup that is a recent discovery and then it was off over the col to the summit of Ben Vuirich. I could see a small avalanche scar on the NE slope, which was duly submitted to SAIS.
I encountered hare tracks that had been turned to raised prints by the blowing of the snow just before the summit.
I found the summit trig with shelter wall plastered in snow.
My hopes of an easy run off down the snowy slopes were thwarted by rocky ground and crusted snow once more but I did make it up and across Creag nan Gobhar to give me that horseshoe feeling. I then headed down to the floor of the glen and eventually picked up the Clunskea Burn and a path back to the road.