Stob Ghabhar by Moonlight

At 3500 ft Stob Ghabhar commands respect in summer so a winter walk is definitely not  something undertaken lightly but in February 2012 there was a sort of weather ‘Quickening’ where a confluence of certain elements produced a window of about 24 – 48 hours of almost perfect conditions for a climb.

The photos below were taken by Scotland’s second-best landscape snapper and Colin Prior-worrier Andy Fair. They’re in sequence starting with the river shot just near the car park around midday which is late to be taking on a Munro but we wanted to hit the summit at around 4:30 pm to catch the moonrise over Rannoch Moor at around 5:05 pm (Andy lugged his heavy panoramic lens to capture that view). Temperatures were good to us: midday at ground level was an almost balmy 6 deg C, on the summit Andy reckoned on an ambient of 0 deg C with the wind chilling it down to -10  (we didn’t stay long) . . . upon return to the car at 8pm it was -2 deg C.

The descent was as good as daylight on the snowy upper third (snow+ moonlight in these stunning conditions = as good as daylight) and required some headlamp work on the grassy lower sections just to get us back onto the path by the waterfall. From there it was moonlight back to the car. To be sure, descending any hill esp. Stob Ghabhar in the dark is not advised but like I said, if you’re going to do a moonlit summit then this February was the time to do it. The irons were hot so we grabbed them . . .

View north west

 

Quite a few red deer around. Note salt lick at bottom -- he was tucking into it big time

 

View from mid-way south east ish. Warm.

 

Ptarmigan x 2. Are they good eatin'?

 

Ridge up to summit. Sun is just setting.

 

Tea time

Moonrise in the east over Rannoch Moor -- about 5 mins after sun set

 

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