As the unpredictable Scottish weather mysteriously looms over us once again, the opportunity to plan in advance for anything involving the outdoors becomes a significant struggle. So with the momentum flowing and good spirits from our brilliant day out at Glen Coe last weekend we decided we would make the most of the nicest day the weekend had to offer.
Waking up on Saturday, we excitedly opened the curtains to be welcomed by a massive grey sheet covering the skies surrounding us. Quickly it became evident we had to make other plans for the day, as our day out moved forward to the Sunday. We made the most of our day by having a fairly relaxed morning followed by an all-guns-blazing sweaty gym session, then fuelled up with a very hot habanero infused taco dinner with a cinema date to see Split (must see!) in the evening.
A very short sleep later we were up at 6am for our Sunday adventures up to The Cairngorms, Aviemore. This time we had a couple of extra travellers.. myself and Rhianne as usual, with the addition of Rhianne’s dad; Willy and their wee pooch Bella. This specific journey was the idea of Willy as he’s a well seasoned ex-mountain rescuer and National 3-Peaks Guide (so he keeps us in the-know, with where to go). With all our camera gear and drone batteries full aswell as our rucksack with the essential foods and coffee, we took to the road for the beautiful drive through mountains, round lochs and across slippery snow tracks.
One coffee stop and 3 hours later we had arrived at the Cairngorms Ski Centre. Massive mountains surrounding us as far as the eye could see. Many with snow, many without. Regardless where we ended up I’m thankful of the thermals and multiple layers we were wrapped up in as our average of -2°C during the drive up plummeted the moment we got our boots on and left the car. Freezing!! We hiked up through ankle-height snow towards an area called The Northern Corries. We walked approximately an hour and a bit before we had a quick seat and refuelled. This is when the fun begins..
We took advantage of our break and gorgeous surroundings to pull the drone out and get some breathtaking aerial shots. Everything was going well until we got it 30 seconds into the sky and we were hit with a potential game over: “SD Memory Card Full”, so we landed the drone whilst rapidly trying to delete unneeded content. Job done, it’s time to fly again! Not so quick.. we had a man approach us looking at the drone. I thought he was intrigued and was interested in seeing our flight, so we let him approach, only to find out he was the bearer of bad news. His name was Nick, a well renowned Cairngorms Ranger who funnily enough was one of Willy’s colleagues from back in his mountain rescue days. But contacts aside, apparently it’s in regulation that any flying of drones is not allowed in the area, unless granted permission.. which is very hard to come by. So we took it on the chin and headed towards the second Corrie. After a steady uphill trek we were soon to be faced with knee to waist-high snow. Every second step was a mystery and every step without a fall was a success. This walk lead us towards vast beautiful sun filled landscapes for miles upon miles. The walk was a good laugh with all the falls then little Bella slowly became an icicle.. so she luckily managed to hitch a ride for a chunk of the journey over Willy’s shoulder.
We took our last break on a big boulder off the shoulder of the Corrie. Instantly in my eyes, a perfect landing spot for the drone. So with sneakiness being in abundance and relying on better timing than our first attempt we set the drone up. Propellors on, controller on, phone connected, we were good to go.. until “Battery too cold. Heat up or change battery.” Great! Maybe it just wasn’t our day. Three attempts of heating the battery up we still had no take-off and it felt like our bodies could present us with a ‘Body too cold’ message any minute from now so we called it a day and started the descent down. The descent was the interesting part as slips and falls became the norm and surely contributed to around 20% of our journey downwards. We finally made it down to dry socks and warm bottoms.
With the ski lodge cafe being shut we took to the quiet local town of Kingussie for a bag full of refreshments to fill our stomachs before we got down the road for a roasting shower, tasty homemade burgers and some catching up on YouTube. What a day we had in the one of Scotland’s countless beauties; The Cairngorms.