Wednesday, 25 May 2011
A Stormy May
The mountains are shrouded in cloud, heavy showers sweep across the land, trees shake in the wind. The air is thick, heavy and dark. This has been the norm this May in the Scottish Highlands. More often May is one of the driest and sunniest months. This year the sun came early, in April. The fine weather broke as May began. There has been little sunshine and much wind and rain. The stormy weather reached a pinnacle on the 23rd with winds over 100 miles per hour and fierce squalls of torrential rain. There was disruption to travel with many trees down and many power cuts - ours went for half an hour, many people were cut off for longer. The temperatures have been low for May too, with fresh snow on the tops. Through all this some 250+ backpackers have been making their way coast-to-coast across the Highlands from west to east on the TGO Challenge. I have done this walk 13 times and have encountered snow, storms, high winds and much rain along the way but I can never remember such prolonged wet weather. I must admit I am glad I decided not to do the Challenge this year and I have great admiration for those who have done so. Tomorrow, the 26th, I am going to the Challenge finish in Montrose for the send-off for Roger Smith, who is retiring this year after organising the event since it began. I'll meet many of this year's Challengers there. I am looking forward to hearing their stories.
The photos were taken on the 24th, a windy day with frequent showers. Snow is just visible on distant cloud-capped Cairn Gorm and the River Spey has burst its banks, flooding the trees on its banks.