So, we went snow-shoeing instead. Snow shoes are everyday items in some parts of the world; but are esoteric and seldom seen artefacts in our maritime winters. The consequence was stomping through a Scotland that looked more like Canada or Northern Europe than I've ever seen before. Or expect to see again, for that matter.
Daytime temperatures were around minus seventeen in the shade and up to a balmy plus six in the sun. Nothing like continental temperatures, but lower than average. Still, the effects and scenery were breath taking. Even producting half decent images from a mobile phone.
The man dressed as the groom is Robin. The bride, Rachel and he were married on 02 Jan 2010. Robin is primarily a white water paddler, but he is super enthusiastic adventurer; unable to come with us for the w/e 09 to 11 Jan 2010, what follows will probably have him kicking himself. (the blonde lady on the right is Mrs Zzzzzz)
On the Sunday, Wayne (in the red jacket in the nowshoeing picture at the top of this post) found our way to Creag Dubh south of Newtonmore on the recommendation of someone we'd spoken to earlier. Much less snow on the south facing crag and a nice icefall to climb. This picture shows the people who were already on it whilst we geared up and prepared ourselves.
I've not climbed ice like this since 1999 (in Canada, not Scotland). This is Wayne again (in the red jacket in the snow shoeing picture above) on his first ever ice climb. We learned a lot (more ice screws, two ropes, more practice, etc etc ad infinitum) and of course doubtless over the next few weeks, with the benefit of hindsight, it will become more of an acheivement and less of a hardship. I love it, I do.