We’ve used our new Michelin snow-chains at last!

Michelin snow-chains fitted to the front wheels on the 'van

This morning we aimed to leave the Glenmore campsite quite early. The first time that we’ve moved the ‘van since our Cairngorm trip a few days ago. However, over the last few days the weather has been bitterly cold: -8°C on Wednesday night (5th) and -7.2°C last night and we had problems getting the ‘van moving this morning. [Aside: as I write this we are currently wild-camping near Creag Meagaidh – it is 19:30 and the outside temperature is already -7.6°C and falling steadily.] The issue was quite simple, the weight of the ‘van had caused the back wheels to bed themselves into the ground by about 2 inches and the front wheels were sitting on some hard frozen earth. When we tried to move off this morning, from a pitch that was fairly level, the front-wheels quickly began to slip and couldn’t get enough purchase to pull the back wheels from their frozen resting place. I couldn’t even use the new snow-chains because you have to be able to roll the front wheels by half a revolution to fit the chains properly: and we couldn’t move an inch.

Looking towards the glen leading to Creag Meagaidh - van's snow-chains in place

All that we could do was to get some grit from the site warden and spread it in front of the tyres. A bit of to and fro with the front wheels pointing in various directions and we managed to break the ‘van free.

So tonight, in our wild camping place in the snow, we’ve attached our new Michelin snow-chains whilst we can still move the ‘van – hopefully now safe in the knowledge that we should be able to get going in the morning worry-free. Elaine has already had a short test drive with the chains in place and they seem to perform well.

Looking east with evening alpenglow over the mountains

I keep calling them “chains”. They’re not actually metal chains but instead a latticework of dyneema-like material with small metal rings at the lattice intersections. They were very straightforward to fit – even though this was the first attempt. It only took about 2-3 minutes per tyre, which is pretty good.

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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