After such a mild and wet winter, a forecast for some proper icy conditions with the threat of snow sounded like just the ticket for an overnight camp. Temperatures were due to plummet as low as -5c with snow on Thursday and Saturday, fingers crossed by Friday night we would either have some or be seeing some.
Arriving in the Fofanny Reservoir area after dark we found a pitch, lit a small fire and fired up a stove for a winter warmer – a donated bottle of mulled wine left over from Christmas. It wasn’t long before another pair of our party arrived and we started cooking dinner. Food finished, we settled for a bit of chat around the fire finally retiring at around 3am. Alas, we never saw any temperatures below 0.8c and the snow never appeared so all our cold weather gear was pretty redundant, even in bivvies it wasn’t really overly cold.
In the morning around 9am, after coffee we all went our separate ways. I headed up towards the saddle between Meelmore and Meelbeg in search of some snow. It was certainly white up there in the distance. Following the valley was a pleasant hike, treacherous in places with ice but little snow until 500m and even then no more than a few inches. Nothing like the wall high drifts we saw a few years ago. Interestingly, having only a 1:50k map with me I was briefly confused meeting a wall unmarked on the map which later checking at home on the 1:25k did indeed exist. Small things like that can really confuse in poor conditions but being a bright, clear day I was able to tell from other landmarks exactly where I was. I continued on as far as the Mourne Wall but was forced to turn back due to time constraints. On the way back down it did start to snow but alas, quickly turned to sleet.
Looks like we might have to wait until next year for the chance of a proper snowy camp.