Monday 24 September 2007

The End of Summer, a grey day on the Cairngorm Plateau

Grey air swept past on a cold wind, damp with thin drizzle. A few remnants of the previous day’s snowfall lingered between cold grey rocks. I put my hand on a patch of the cold whiteness, touching the first sign of winter. Grey mountains stretched away into the grey sky. The clouds only brushed the highest summits though, leaving the Cairngorm Plateau clear with sharp views that had been unusual during the hazy, misty summer. Four of us wandered into stony Coire an t-Sneachda, the cliffs at its head dark and threatening. Five pools lay on the corrie floor, revealing the wetness of the now fading summer. Often by mid-September there is barely one pool left. The steep Goat Track led up the corrie headwall to the plateau and a traverse across the slopes of Coire Domhain to the rushing waters of the Feith Buidhe. We stood on hard, cold granite slabs gazing down to long Loch Avon stretching out between craggy mountainsides, one of the great vistas of the Scottish Highlands. A sheltered corner below boulders provided a scenic lunch spot before we turned to face the wet wind and climbed gently beside the stream to the pool at its source, jackets done up, hats pulled down, gloves on hands, then crossed the bulky shoulder of Cairn Lochan before dropping out of the cold into Coire an Lochan.

The photo shows the view down to Loch Avon. Black and white captures the feel of the day better than colour. Photo info: Canon EOS 350D, 18-55mm lens @ 21mm, f8 @ 1/200, ISO 200, raw file converted to a JPEG and processed in Photoshop Elements 5.

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