Southern Highlands - streapadair

Beinn Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig.

3pm, 09/01/82

~ January 1982. A good winter continues. It began mild and wet at the New Year, but then became very cold from the 5th to the 15th with some record low temperatures. December's cold air was never far away, and with anticyclones in place over Greenland and Scandinavia a cold front moved south, pushed down by northeasterlies, with cold air slowly reintroduced from the 3rd, preceded by heavy rain. Between the 5th and 8th over 100 mm of rain fell on the Southern Uplands and Pennines. As the ground was frozen, it just ran off. As a result there was severe flooding in the York district when the River Ouse broke its banks after rising to 5m above normal. Ice floes became jammed under bridges. The flood waters then froze over. On the morning of the 5th there was over 40 cm of level snow at Braemar. There was more snow in the north on the 7th; and -23C at Braemar; the next day Grantown-on-Spey fell to -26.8C. The battle between very cold and mild air in the south led to blizzards; the Midlands and Wales had 30-50 cm of snow on the 8-9th with easterly gales. Many places were cut off (e.g. Torquay and Weymouth). Some drifts were 20' high. Lasting 36 hours, this was one of the most severe blizzards of the century across the Southwest and Midlands. Then with clear skies, light winds, and snow cover, Braemar fell to -27.2C (equal British record for the lowest reading) on the morning of the 10th, and logged several other very low minima that month. The maximum on the 10th was only -19.1C: a record low maximum for Britain; with a freshening easterly wind even Weymouth did not rise above -4C that day. The following day the minimum was -26.3C. There were some other very low temperatures in Scotland on the morning of the 11th, including -26.6C at Bowhill, and -26.2 at West Linton, both in the Borders. The English record was also set early in the morning of the 10th (beating that just made in December 1981!): -26.1C at Harper Adams College, just outside Newport (Shrops.).

~ So it would seem the weather was even more interesting than I remember - ice floes in the Ouse - but it surely was cold. The weekend was forecast to stay fine, and when I learned that there was to be a lunar eclipse on the Saturday evening clearly some fine plan had to be made. As I was working on Saturday morning it could be nothing elaborate or distant, and I settled on Glen Falloch and a stroll up an Caisteal with a tent and some warm gear.

I set off from near Keilator farm about 1.30pm, with a sense of keen anticipation.