Driving back from Scotland the other day I saw that my local border hill was white. Figuring that there’s been more snow since then , I thought I’d swap the crampons for my short ski’s and head up for a look. It was always a gamble that there would not be enough snow, but its hard to tell when the top is often under Orthographic cloud! Starting off on the walk up with the ski’s on the rucksack it didn’t look hopeful, it just seamed to warm and it looked like most of the snow lower down had melted. As I walked higher up the hill the cloud cleared for a few minutes and rather confirmed my suspicions with the upper reaches showing lots of black areas. Still the Cheviot’s one of those funny hills where you cannot see the uppermost 50m from any angle down below, so on I plodded. Above 600m the ground began to firm up with exposed peat and snow getting a frozen crust that would almost support my weight. Above 700m I tried the ski’s but there just doesn’t seam to have been the quantity of snow fallen on the hill, in fact it looks like it came as rain with only snow on the back end of it, so I was having to pick my way between snow and ice. In the end I gave up with the skis as I approached the flat top area, most of whats arrived here must have come with some force and just blown right off, the rest of the wet stuff has now frozen into ice or neve. Large amounts of rime ice build up on the fence and summit cairn made it look interesting though now able to walk on top of the now frozen ground it felt good to be out. Maybe the rain that’s just arrived as I right this will fall as snow on the top, we will see. Thing is, its just still to warm at the moment, today around 11:00 at 800m it was barely -1 and with the ground so warm it melts from the ground up making the walk in over the bog very uncomfortable. Best if your heading up there to walk further along the valley and take the second path up that avoids some of the bog. Lets see what Sunday brings.
Ski tour on Cheviot, hmm not yet!