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Glen Affric Igloo Camp 28th January 2012

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:52 pm
by Andy
Hi All
Inverness Nordic and Ski Touring Club arranged another Igloo camping trip for club members this January with Chris Townsend in the lead as chief Igloo instructor. The winter conditions in Scotland were very good in December and early January but a deterioration at the end of January seemed to put off people from joining the trip.
This was a great shame because we chose a new area, Glen Affric, whixh is only 10 miles west of where I live and holds the snow well even when the Cairngorm Mountains have lost snow from a thaw.
Never the less we went ahead with the trip and Mike joined Chris and myself for a really good weekend in the mountains.
Putting on climbing skins for ascent to Igloo site
Although conditions may appear a bit patchy it is quite usual for scottish skiers to skin up on heather covered with 2 inches of snow!
We did not have to climb too far too reach a large snow drift following the line of a burn up to about 700metres above sea level where we stopped to build. The snow drift was about 20 feet deep so we had plenty to build and being on a slope made the entrance easy to construct.
Deep snow drift by burn for Igloo site
There was a layer of powder about 3 inches thich on top of the old crystalline snow of the drift so we had an easy job of building with minimal compaction needed.
THe Igloo completed on the drift
I have found that using thin garden spun weed cover is a very useful lightweight floor covering that stops loss of valuable equipment in the Igloo. Th ephoto below illustrates how the black fabric helps keep small tems from dissapearing in t5he snow.
Ground sheet cover
We should really have used head torches and taken advantage of the powder layer that night but with Igloo building being quite hard work the opportunity to eat and drink (wine included!) was too tempting. The next day weather had taken a turn for the worse with temperatures rising and powder turing to porridge! With no incentive to start early a relaxed breakfast had us starting our tour up the hill very late. The low cloud meant our tour from the Igloo up the drifted burn took us to cloud base at about 900 metres from where we telemarked back down for a tea stop at the Igloo.
Skiing up the drifted burn
Chris telemarking back down
Andy - a proud Igloo builder!
The thaw sets in on the Sunday - Igloo site is to right of the main summit on slopes to glen.

Re: Glen Affric Igloo Camp 28th January 2012

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:00 am
by Igloo Ed
I'm sorry to hear the poor snow conditions put people off but it's great that you and Chris continue to build the igloos together. My friend here that I've been building igloos with for the last few years is getting real good and it makes it so much more fun building them.
I'm glad you chose the camp site that you did and got to build a tall door, I think that is a new experience for you.
Years ago, I used an old poncho as a ground sheet and it wore out so bad that I swore a piece of synthetic burlap would work well. I'd never though of the weed barrier stuff, good idea.
A relaxing evening in the igloo and a good ski the next day sounds like a good trip to me, Whoo Hoo!

Re: Glen Affric Igloo Camp 28th January 2012

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:48 pm
by Andy
Ed - We had temperatures of 22-23 Celcius here in Scotland last week and this Wednesday had to clear 8 inches of snow from the car and temperature were well below freezing. A real variety in such a short time. It is quite usual to get snow in April and it doesn't last long at our altitude. We call it the lambing snow as it's when the lambs are being born in the highlands and can be a real problem for the farmers. I'm on call so will not be able to take advantage of the snow for skiing or Igloo building!