Monday 22 March 2010

A Stormy Start to Spring

The vernal equinox when the hours of dark and light are balanced marks the traditional start of spring. Winter is over and light and warmth will now dominate for months to come. A walk on this day is a welcome to the returning and strengthening sun. Happy to shed the winter accoutrements needed for the still snow-clad highest hills I headed for Glen Roy and its lower and now mostly snow free tops. The weather was not co-operating with the theme of spring and sunshine however. A bleak, damp wind whistled down the glen, spattering drizzle against me. Grey clouds hung low, well below the summits. Newly free of snow the ground was a dull grey-green, last year’s faded grass lying wet and flat. I’d passed catkins hanging thickly on the trees as I drove up the lower wooded glen. But here in the upper glen amongst the rough sheep pastures there was no sign of the changing year. I climbed through dark heather above Coire na Reinich and into mist and heavier rain that carried hints of sleet and wet snow. The little summit cairn came and went quickly. I had no desire or reason to stop. Then, descending over Carn Bhrunachain, the clouds started to lift, revealing flat-topped hills rippling into the distance. There was even some weak sunshine half-lighting patches of hillside and almost bringing a suggestion of brightness and colour to the washed-out vegetation. Back down in the glen the snow-melt swollen River Roy raced down water slides and cascades. The famous Parallel Roads – the shorelines of ancient lakes held in the glen by ice dams – were pale streaks across the dark slopes. Down the glen a split in the clouds revealed the shining white still-winter peaks of the Grey Corries, a fine view on a day of misty haziness and soft-edged scenes. High above an eagle soared, circling round and round above the land. Spring will come here but not yet.

Photo info: Looking back down Glen Roy to the Grey Corries, March 21, 2010. Canon EOS 450D, Canon 55-250@84mm, 1/640@ f5.6, ISO 200, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.6

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