It's not often in Scotland you need snowshoes to get around. Our initial plans been to drive alongside Loch Arkaig in the West Highlands of Scotland and walk for a couple of hours into Glen Kingie to stay at Kinbreak bothy. Snowy weather conditions however on the drive from Edinburgh, with the occasional whiteout and stranded cars on the motorway as we travelled through Fife (not one-fifth of the way into our journey) led to what we felt was the sensible decision not to drive down an untreated road and we headed for the nearby Gleann Dubh-Lighe bothy instead.
I'd been to Gleann Dubh-Lighe before, when we climbed Streap in 2016. The walk-in to the bothy is excellent and we took turns breaking trail through fresh, ankle-deep snow. It's not a difficult walk-in though, even with 10kg of coal, and we were soon settled in and and trading conversation in front of a roaring fire. A few hours later, a couple from Fort William arrived, soaked in fresh snow, and, later still, a group of six turned up from Glasgow. (The latter group had also changed their mind about walking in to Kinbreak bothy). All of us commented on the amount of snow that was falling.
In the morning, we had a leisurely start before we headed again to Streap. Our goal was simply to repeat the route we'd done a few years previously and share with a friend how good it was. As it transpired, we got nowhere near the summit. The depth of snow made any walking without snowshoes incredibly difficult and it took us nearly four hours to ascend just 700m from Gleann Dubh-Lighe bothy onto Streap's south-west ridge. Our late start meant we arrived on the ridge mid-afternoon and, with our expectation being the deep and difficult snow conditions would continue (I was often waist-deep in powder and I’m 6’2” tall), we made what we deemed to be the sensible decision to bail on the still faraway summit and come back again another day (possibly for a summit camp in Spring). We were disappointed but our mood soon lifted when we returned to the bothy and the group from Glasgow had very kindly left us a half-full bottle of whisky (their good company and our own whisky being one of the reasons for our late start).