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23 March 2011: Ben Avon Skiing Winter 2010/2011

So, with the best of the weather forecast for the northeast, my rationale was that the northern corries of Ben Avon should be the sunniest, and still holding some snow.  The weather prediction may have been right, but I appear to have been a tad optimistic on the amount of snow!   We cycled from Tomintoul to beyond Inchrory, followed by the slog up the shoulder of Meall Gaineimh.  It is well worth a visit up here, even if you don't go onto the high plateau (as we have done before), as there are several really interesting tors, including a big one with a hidden swimming pool!

Anyway, the skis were still on our back, and with the lack of good snow cover ahead, this looked to continue for some time, which it did.  In fact, barring crossing a couple of sizeable snow patches high up, we were on bare ground for most of the walk, and gave up at the tor to the northeast of the main summit at 1136m (it's not like we haven't been to the summit before).  The original plan was to ski down Caol Ghleann.  We stuck to it, but had to curtail it early due to, you guessed it, a lack of snow.  We got to about 700m, so a descent of nearly 450m, but the skis were then back on the rucksack for the walk back to the bikes.  I had hoped that the stream line would have held snow, but the thaw has been particularly savage, and it was all gone. 

Looking around from the top, it appeared that other hills had better cover, on similar aspects to the one we wanted to ski.  We've been up Ben Avon a number of times late season, and it just doesn't seem to hold the snow as well as other hills, so despite it's height, it appears not to the best choice for the time of year. 

I nearly cycled over him.
Nerves of steel.  A land rover overtook us a little later, so I feared the worst, but when we cycled back past this point, there was no sign of a splat.
Cycling up the good track by the River Avon to Inchrory.
Helen battling the wind on Meall Gaineimh, with Inchrory behind.
Still walking...
Lochnagar looking good.
Helen at the tor at 1136m, with the main summit behind.
The impressive tor of Clach Bun Rudhtair.
Caol Ghleann.
We had come down the main gully line to the right of Helen.
Just above the River Avon, having climbed up a bit to avoid a deer fence.
19 March 2011: Carn an Tuirc Skiing Winter 2010/2011
18 March 2011: Black Spout, Lochnagar Skiing Winter 2010/2011
27 February 2011: Parallel A, Lochnagar Winter Route Winter 2010/2011
26 February 2011: Ski tour, Beinn a' Bhuird Skiing Winter 2010/2011
12 February 2011: Mini ski tour, Cairngorm Skiing Winter 2010/2011
29 January 2011: Icestasy, Sgurr nan Conbhairean. Winter Route Winter 2010/2011
23 January 2011: Tignes ski week Skiing Winter 2010/2011
09 January 2011: Snip-Snip, Coire Kander Winter Route Winter 2010/2011
03 January 2011: The Old Man of Coniston Walk Winter 2010/2011
02 January 2011: Left Hand Branch of Central Gully, Great End Winter Route Winter 2010/2011
01 January 2011: Loughrigg Fell, Oxendale, and Latterbarrow... Walk Winter 2010/2011
21 December 2010: Night time ski on Morven Skiing Winter 2010/2011
12 December 2010: Round of Coire Dhirich Skiing Winter 2010/2011
11 December 2010: Shuffle round Loch Brandy, Glen Clova Skiing Winter 2010/2011
05 December 2010: Glenshee weekend Skiing Winter 2010/2011
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