First Snow Of The Season On Ben Cruachan

Alan Rowan

The Scots Magazine team joined Munro Moonwalker,
Alan Rowan, for his penultimate hike of his 2018 mission


IT was fitting that we were walking in the shadow of the Cruachan Dam on the night of the Beaver Moon in November, the penultimate full moon of the year.

The Beaver Moon is so named because at this time of year beavers built their winter dams. It was also the last chance for Native Americans, who named the moons, to hunt the animals before the lakes froze over.

The longer hours of darkness and the timing of the full moon meant the chances of catching spectacular views were remote. Sunset was too early and sunrise too late; this was simply a case of reaching the summit of Ben Cruachan and making it safely back down.


The First Snow Of The Season


Wet and windy weather was sweeping in from the east, but the forecast was better further west. A touch of moisture and a lively breeze as we set off, however, suggested gusty conditions on the ridge.

The moon broke through a few times during our initial push through the trees but the cloud line smothered the ridge. We saw there was a patchy covering of snow ahead. We were greeted at the col by a blasting wind being funnelled through the gap, but it eased as we turned north for the steep push to the summit.

The snow got deeper with every upward metre. The path was invisible in places, the rocks of the boulder field rimed and slippy. Every step became awkward, a constant need to seek out foot placements. It’s easy to turn an ankle in this terrain.

There was little to see from the top, the slopes falling away on all sides disappearing into the blackness. We made our way carefully back down through the boulders. We caught a few hefty sideswipes from a sudden and scouring wind, but the descent to the dam was mostly uneventful.


Ben Cruachan on a better day! The route to the summit passes the dam, and makes the ascent via Coire Dearg.


This Beaver Moon expedition was
hike number ten on Alan’s mission
to “bag” all 13 full moons this year.

You can read the Mountains Of The Moon
blogs so far here.