The terrible weather meant there hasn't been much to photograph, but I did spend some time tracking Peak District hares on a misty afternoon that involved less actual walking than perching on rocks reading Will Stone's superb translation of Stefan Zweig's Nietzsche. (Given the conditions I decided I'd buy Stone's collection called Glaciation, stocking up on mountain reading, when I got home).
As the day went on there were some decent views of the mountains, but as usual the Brecon Beacons were more like a town park, with crowds and queues, than the outdoors (I'm surprised no one has opened a hot dog stand on Pen y Fan).
Shortly before sundown the predicted weather front came in and the views ended for the day. The Mammut sleeping bag did its job wonderfully, keeping me cosy in freezing fog.
At the beginning of January I decided I couldn't wait any longer. Storms and strong westerly gales were forecast, but the mountain weather forecast contained the word 'bright', so I decided to head to Glen Affric.
It was anything but bright (which didn't make for impressive photos I'm afraid). On the day of the drive up I made for two of Glen Affric's most accessible Munros, Tom a' Coinich & Toll Creagach. Parking at Chisholme bridge, the walk in to these mountains is quick and simple, along a reasonable track with only a few streams to ford. It was quickly getting dark by the time I hit the slopes, and the constant drizzle meant that views were limited:
I made it above the snowline just as the last light faded, and put the new sleeping bag down in the snow-filled corrie beneath the ridge between the two munros. Due to all this drizzle the snow was really unpleasant to walk on (or rather, wade through). But I found a picturesque spot with expansive views to the south and up to Tom a' Choinich's ridges:
This was a spot well protected from Westerlies, but before long the wind had turned south-westerly and this was a very squally night indeed. It rained hard and constantly: not a good time to spend my first Scottish winter night in just a sleeping bag! By morning, everything - clothes, books, food and self - was soaked through and the rain had made the snow even more tiresome to negotiate. The peaks were well and truly cloud-bound. The forecast from yesterday suggested things might be a little 'brighter' north of the great glen, so I decided to give up on Glen Affric and head north (perhaps using the Kinlochewe bunkhouse to dry things out tonight).
Driving through Beauly and Contin, things were indeed 'bright', but it was clear that all the mountains were swathed in very dark, immobile cloud which was shedding almost constant rain. I decided to head for a medium-sized lump on the edge of Loch Maree, Meall A' Ghiuthais. I'd noticed on past visits to Torridon that, at 887m this outlier from Beinn Eighe tended to escape cloud that smothered the higher things in the main ranges. The afternoon light, such as it was, was doing interesting things across the glen.
I headed through Torridon village and past Wester Alligin without a single sighting of a mountain. Along the coast, even in the middle of the day the dark clouds almost entirely kept the sun at bay. They remained between 100m & 200m (!) until well after lunchtime. Only occasionally did some light break through: