Inverness Nordic and Ski Touring Club arranged another Igloo camping trip for club members this January with Chris Townsend in the lead as chief Igloo instructor. The winter conditions in Scotland were very good in December and early January but a deterioration at the end of January seemed to put off people from joining the trip.
This was a great shame because we chose a new area, Glen Affric, whixh is only 10 miles west of where I live and holds the snow well even when the Cairngorm Mountains have lost snow from a thaw.
Never the less we went ahead with the trip and Mike joined Chris and myself for a really good weekend in the mountains.
File comment: Putting on climbing skins for ascent to Igloo site
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Although conditions may appear a bit patchy it is quite usual for scottish skiers to skin up on heather covered with 2 inches of snow!
We did not have to climb too far too reach a large snow drift following the line of a burn up to about 700metres above sea level where we stopped to build. The snow drift was about 20 feet deep so we had plenty to build and being on a slope made the entrance easy to construct.
File comment: Deep snow drift by burn for Igloo site
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There was a layer of powder about 3 inches thich on top of the old crystalline snow of the drift so we had an easy job of building with minimal compaction needed.
File comment: THe Igloo completed on the drift
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I have found that using thin garden spun weed cover is a very useful lightweight floor covering that stops loss of valuable equipment in the Igloo. Th ephoto below illustrates how the black fabric helps keep small tems from dissapearing in t5he snow.
File comment: Ground sheet cover
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We should really have used head torches and taken advantage of the powder layer that night but with Igloo building being quite hard work the opportunity to eat and drink (wine included!) was too tempting. The next day weather had taken a turn for the worse with temperatures rising and powder turing to porridge! With no incentive to start early a relaxed breakfast had us starting our tour up the hill very late. The low cloud meant our tour from the Igloo up the drifted burn took us to cloud base at about 900 metres from where we telemarked back down for a tea stop at the Igloo.
File comment: Skiing up the drifted burn
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File comment: Chris telemarking back down
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File comment: Andy - a proud Igloo builder!
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File comment: The thaw sets in on the Sunday - Igloo site is to right of the main summit on slopes to glen.
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