UKH

Winter hill films for when you can't go winter walking

© John Fleetwood

For most of Britain's hillwalkers, this is a hugely frustrating start to winter. While snow may have come to the hills, for many it's cruelly out of reach. Well if you can't get to the mountains then why not bring the mountains into your home? Forget social media-induced FOMO, and tune in to some videos instead.

Feel the crunch of vicarious snow under your boots, and the imaginary breeze in your hair... And let's all dream of a nice crisp spring.

Winter Hillwalking: if only they knew

Hills in snow are magic. Not many people reading this are going to need telling, but this intro to the delights of winter walking from the BMC, filmed on an atmospheric day in the Cairngorms, is still worth a watch. Here's hoping for more days like that for all of us, soon...

Helvellyn's winter edges

For many folk, winter mountains mean Scotland, but that would be doing a disservice to the amazing adventures also found south of the border. For anyone with a head for heights, and appropriate skills and gear, the round of Helvellyn's Striding Edge and Swirral Edge is among the greatest winter mountaineering days to be had on any of our hills. Here Dave, the Solo Summiteer, combines the classic round with an ascent of Catstyecam's Y Gully.

If you're keen to follow suit, restrictions permitting, here's our Route Card:

A time to remember

"For me, life taught its greatest lessons in the mountains..." And for us, too. Footage of a moody Fisherfield and the snowbound Cairngorms accompanies one man's recollection of a youth well spent exploring the wilder corners of his homeland, in this meditatively-paced short film by Ben Page, James Hamer and Sam Oakes.

Stunning sunrise on Crib Goch

More proof - if any were needed - that winter elsewhere in the UK can easily match the best of Scotland for sheer in-your-face drama, as mountain film maker Rob Johnson treats us to some stunning aerial footage shot on a very alpine-looking Snowdon massif:

"I spent Sunday evening poring over weather forecasts and maps as I knew that Monday morning had the potential to be pretty special. I made a plan for a winter climb and then fly, set the alarm early and got up to find everything different to the forecast. The best laid plans and all that..." says Rob. But it looks like it turned out OK in the end!

For more of Rob's work see www.filmuphigh.com

When travel restrictions permit, here's our Route Card for the Snowdon Horseshoe:

Arctic Scotland

"Finally a blast of Winter so I headed for what felt like the arctic!" says film maker Murray Wilkie, aka Scotland's Mountains. "A superb hike in the eastern highlands, an area that comes into its own under a good covering of snow..."

Nevis faces

Nevis Faces is a six-part series of short films that introduces people who work and live around the Nevis area. Jamie Hageman (Wee Jamie on UKH) is a self-taught mountain landscape painter, based in the West Highlands, source for much of his inspiration. Jamie's paintings are so detailed you could almost mistake them for photographs! Here he walks along the Devil's Ridge to find the right spot to paint in the pre-dawn light, and capture a magnificent sunrise.

We interviewed Jamie about his job, way back in the mists of pre-Coivid days:

  • Check out Jamie's gallery here

Fairfield in winter

Just pre-lockdown 1.0, Athena Mellor takes on deep bogs and strong headwinds, on the classic Fairfield Horseshoe:

A Sense of Place - the Cairngorms

Less walking, more wildlife, as this beautifully-shot film by Max Smith captures the snowbound majesty of the high Cairngorms, and some of its characteristic wildlife, including ptarmigan, mountain hares Britain's only herd of reindeer. The Sense of Place series offers an intimate view of the most wild and remote wildlife habitats still left in the UK, aiming to show the true value of these rare and fragile places.

A night to remember

Now for something a bit different - an unusual 'animated' painting recreation of a night of drama on Tower Ridge, by John Ryan. Thanks to its alpine-scale length, and the fact that the main difficulties are met high on the route, this greatest of the Ben Nevis winter ridges is a scene of frequent benightments in the short days and challenging conditions of winter. We've not seen it captured in this style before, and we think it's pretty evocative of a night of icy drama.

A winter's dream

John Fleetwood and Adrian Trendall snatch a prime winter plum with a traverse of the Skye Cuillin in flawless winter nick - an adventure that's high on the bucket list for many mountaineers, but not one that a lot of folk actually achieve.

Winter mountain hiking

"Is there anything better than white mountains and blue skies?" Well, not that we know of.

Join Murray Wilkie again to walk Beinn a' Chrulaiste, one of Scotland's favourite mountain viewpoints, with its unrivalled outlook on Glen Coe and The Buachaille. That painful crack of dawn alarm tone is all too familiar, but it looks like it was worth the early start for a day like that!

Winter on Liathach

If Tower Ridge and the Cuillin are a bit too much liker climbing, but rope-free walking seems a bit, well, pedestrian, then the classic Scottish grade II winter ridges might be just the job. Here's the mighty Liathach, one of Scotland's great mountain days in any season, but doubly so in winter. With achingly beautiful northern light, and drone footage used to full effect, this lovely short film from Scottish Rock and Water is sure to have you planning a Torridon trip as soon as travel restrictions allow!

Quinag

Murray Wilkie gets about a bit. Here he is again, this time on a snow-dusted Quinag. Not sure it's quite as unknown as Murray seems to think, but this island-like massif does clearly merit a lot more attention than it receives, probably thanks to its inconveniently northwestern location.

Ski Touring Vlog

In case anyone was beginning to imagine that winter is always blue skies and sparkling snow, we're back with Rob Johnson of Filmuphigh, on an 'exfoliating' ski tour in a hostile-looking Carneddau, making use of the first snows this winter and enjoying some pretty challenging visibility. One question left unanswered: Who nicked his boots?


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