Non-mountain days

I haven’t been able to get into the hills and mountains for some time, partly because of the conditions and partly because I’ve been focusing on training for the Inverness half-marathon on March 8.

There have been nine deaths in the UK hills in the last month – four in Snowdonia, four in the Highlands and one in the Lake District. I can’t speak for Snowdonia or the Lake District, but conditions on mountains in the Highlands have varied dramatically.

Three weeks ago, the modest amount of snow that there was froze solid, like concrete, turning snow slopes into ice rinks. Shortly after, the Cairngorms received a huge dumping of snow. Soft snow on top of hard snow equals instability and a greater risk of avalanches. Deep snow also makes walking conditions extremely tough and any route takes two or three times longer than if there were no snow. A thaw now seems to have set in. Temperatures have risen to the dizzy heights of double figures and even from Inverness, I can see that the snow on Ben Wyvis is melting.

So back to the Inverness half, I’m training hard and I’ve got a 74,55 PB set at the Kinloss-Lossiemouth race earlier this month to shoot at. Once it’s over, my thoughts will turn back to the mountains.

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