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Pitlochry, Ben Vrackie, Perthshire, Scotland.
[9.4 km]  Sat 20 Jan 2018

OS Grid ref: NN 94422 59813
Lat/Long: 56.718016, -3.726604

The night wasnít as cold as I was expecting but there had been some snowfall, which I wasnít expecting. As I need to drive home today I set off early at 6am to walk to the summit of Ben Vrackie. Itís a walk Iíve done before but never in the snow. The path is well used all the way but the recent snow fall made it a bit slipper at first. It was dark when I left and I needed my head torch for the first section through the woods and shrubs. When I reached the open hillside it wasnít quite light enough to see properly as the path was snow covered and slippery.

Sunrise from the climb of Ben Vrackie
Eventually I could see OK and enjoyed the solitude as I approached the dam and frozen reservoir behind. The temperature had dropped to -8degC but there was no wind so it didnít feel bad. Across the dam I put my ice studs on to start the steep climb up the final km or so. The snow was soft and before long I was floundering in the deep sections. Iíd brought my snow-shoes so it I put them on while still wearing the studs. They made a huge difference and didnít present any problems on the sections where stone steps were available.

Summit of Ben Vrackie with the trig post on the right
The temperature began to drop further but I was sheltered by the mountain. The final section was fairly steep and would have been very difficult without snow shoes. Just below the summit I was hit by the ice cold wind as the temperature had dropped to -10degC. It was just after sunrise and I had some nice views all around. I didnít stay long and soon stated by descent along the same route Iíd climbed. The steep sections of snow slopes were difficult in snow shoes so I sat on my backside and slid down with a controlled descent. I reached the dam and met the first walker of the day on his ascent. I kept my snowshoes on and they made a huge difference as I progressed easily. Many more people were coming up as I descended and I was back at my car around 11am. Near the car park I made a short diversion to look at stone and adjacent information plate. It referred to Eck and Dougie arguing over a swede. It took a while to thaw the car windows and clear them for the drive home.

View on the descent
This stone was erected to commemorate the skirmish o Ben I Vrackie on the 5th February 1864.
Eck and Dougie fell out over half an acre of swedes.
Eck fell here after being hit on the heed we a frosted neep
RIP Eck.