Thursday, 5 November 2009
A Frosty Autumn Day
Finally in this warm and wet autumn, typified by low clouds, grey skies and rain, the air cleared after another day of rain, the stars and moon appeared and the temperature fell below freezing. The next day dawned with an unfamiliar sharpness in the air and thick white frost coating the ground. In the distance a dusting of snow lay on the lower fringes of the still cloud-capped mountains. Spurred by the sunshine I set out on one of my favourite short walks in the Cairngorms, from Glenmore through Ryvoan Pass and up Meall a’Bhuachaille. The walk through the Glen More pine forests is always lovely, with its mix of ancient gnarled giants and crowded young saplings. New trees are now springing up in the plantation areas cleared some years ago and these ugly scars are slowly greening over. Above the forest on the glen floor more young trees are also advancing up the steep slopes of Creag nan Gall and Creag Loisgte. Sandwiched between these rocky hillsides is lovely An Lochan Uaine – the green lochan. Living up to the name the lochan reflected the pines on its shores, its surface shimmering slightly in a hint of a breeze. Beyond the lochan the trees fade away as the path climbs gently through Ryvoan Pass to little Ryvoan Bothy. Here I climbed more steeply, up the slopes of Meall a’Bhuachaille. The bright sun was surprisingly hot and I had my jacket off, sleeves rolled up and shirt collar unzipped. Suddenly An Lochan Uaine was a dark slash far below me, half-hidden by heathery slopes. Above the lochan the woods and hills rose to the high Cairngorms, an undulating brown and green landscape capped with a touch of snow. On the summit a cool westerly breeze ensured the jacket went back on again. Below the huge sweep of Glenmore and Rothiemurchus Forests stretched out below the mountains with the silvery waters of Loch Morlich standing out amongst the dark pines. Further west the sky was dark with clouds. By the time I was back down in the forest these were overhead and the sunshine had gone. But for a few hours it had been wonderful to walk in warmth, brightness and colour. It is easy to forget during days of rain and cloud just how the sun can transform the world.
Photo info: An Lochan Uaine, 4/11/2009. Sigma DP1, 1/160@f4, ISO 50, raw file converted to JPEG in Sigma Photo Pro and tweaked in Lightroom 2.5