Deep Snow Fog and a near miss on the Mountain Rescue:-Deep Snow Fog and a near miss on the Mountain Rescue:- (Read On)
On Saturday the 2nd of Fedbruary 2008 a best friend of mine Nick from Harrogate and I went for a Munro weekend we had planned from over 3months ago. We had travelled to our lovely bed and breakfast called Lochton House near Banchory the day before.
The day we set off for the eastern Munro summits in the Glen Shee ski centre area were as follows.
Our three planned Munro's were Glas Maol, Cairn of Claise and Carn an Tuirc.
We had an early start breakfast at 7.00am and I had a lovely smoke haddoch and poached egg's on toast. Nick had the same.
We set off from Banchory at 7.30ish and travelled to Braemar then Glen Shee via the A93 Aberdeen Perth road. The road was thick with snow and ice in places and the journey there to do about 50miles took us 2hours. The snow covered trees and ice covered streams and rivers were a beautiful site and it was a real christmas wonderland.
Upon arriving at Glen Shee we parked the car up at the large area where the A93 is at its highest point. This is the same point I parked when doing the summits of The Cairnwell and Glas Maol.
Well we set off bang on 9.30am and head streight up for the summit of Glas Maol as this was our first target. The weather when we started from the car park was sunny down the valleys but overcast around our Munro summits. We got further and further up the edge of Glas Maol seeing ski lifts and cafe huts with icicles hung all over them along with 2metre snow drifts in places.
We reached Glas Maol's trig point at about 11.00am and spent a short break chatting to some other guys on the summit.
One guy i spoke with fixed my walking cain when we were heading up and we told him our route (Could you be him) if so please get in touch
This was just the beginning of the strange things that went on from there.
Well he told us he had his car parked next to my car and that really is all i can say on that part.
We then from Glas Maol all went our own ways.
We head off across the large open ridges towards the summit of Cairn of Claise our next Munro target but the weather had really deteriorated by half way between them and it was like the sky matched the ground. Thick fog and white snow dont mix well...! We made it across to the summit of Cairn of Claise with its cairn where we checked our route and then head on for Carn an Tuirc.
Our route to Carn an Tuirc took across some dodgy bog land and again the thick fog really did not help and to make it worse it decided to pick up with the wind and also add blizzard conditions in on the day to.
We both came to the conclusion it was getting late and an escape route was required...!
I had one planned from my mapping and route planning many months ago and told my mate about the track that lead off the summit and took us down to the A93 road.
There had been a slite misunderstanding and Nick looking at his navigator saw a track leading off into an area called Glen Callater and way off route down into Braemar.
My escape route was a track that lead off the west side of Carn an Tuirc direct west via a foot bridge near the road.
Well we of course lost precious time on that mistake and had to head back for the Carn an Tuirc summit as that was where the escape route head off from. We re-traced back to Carn an Tuirc and then after standing a few seconds on the summit cairn we got ourselves in gear and set off.
The time now was 17.00pm and i was to be honest scared...
We found the area of our escape route but the problem here was now snow.
The route was of course not visible as it was covered in snow drifts.
We could see the A93 road it was a yet so near yet so far situation and the route down was mentally exhausting as it was virtually every single step in the deep snow waisted the energy of five or six.
As part of the route down we were looking across and watching the cars coming down the A93 and it still felt like we would never get there.
We both stuck out and struggled getting through the snow drifts till we made it to the river that runs along side the A93 and when we finally traced the foot bridge i said to my mate i am off to ask the next car for a lift to my parked vehicle...!
From here it gets Spooky
The guy that we had both spoke to on top of Glas Maol got back to his car parked next to mine at 17.00pm and he was concerned we were not back at my car.
He raised the issue with Grampian Police and left a note on my car.
By the way i am totally unaware of all this
Upon reaching the road we both just missed a car...! Then another starts coming up the hill and this one pulls over. Here is where the story really gets serious...!
The car we pulled over the driver opens his window and the first thing he says are you both ok. We said yes just tired why is that. He said is that your car parked up the top car park on Glen Shee. I said yes that is. He said Thank F For That... I asked him why whats up. His reply was well i work for the mountain rescue and we had an alert raised about your safety and well being by another mountaineer along with Grampian Police we of course checked your car at 18.00pm and the next check is of course me heading up there now for 19.00pm. The point is lads its part of our duty to look after people on our summits and if there had been no one at that car when i had checked it at 19.00 then there would have been a search sent out.
This would not have been your fault he said it is just our duty.
We where then run back to my car and the mountain rescue man said that Grampian Police will need to see us and take a few details.
We met up the Grampian Police officer who closed a case that had been raised on two missing people (That of course being us)
I have to say both the mountain rescue and the police officer were great people to have dealt with and i have one thing to say.
A big thumbs up and a thank you - knowing that they are the eye's and ear's of the mountains and looking out for you at all times
We on the mountains are here to help everyone as in a one for all and all for one...!