Friday 30 September 2011

Meall a'Bhuachaille: Photo Essay

In the Cairngorms the surprising heatwave at the end of September - the hottest weather of the summer - came with strong gusty winds and mostly soft, hazy, humid skies. On the last day of the month rather than battle the wind and the heat on the high plateaux I settled on the ridge that runs north of Glenmore and which gives superb views of the Northern Cairngorms, Strathspey and Abernethy Forest. Layers of high clouds endlessly changing in depth and shade as the wind ripped through them, high humidity that made the air seem thick and heavy and which turned distant views into vague silhouettes and the bright autumn colours all made for an unusual, slightly unreal land scape lit by a mostly bright yet also diffuse light. Down in the forest the damp air was still and just walking on the level produced copious sweat. On the hills the wind dried the sweat but was not cold.

I took the high level path from Glenmore to Ryvoan Pass, which gave good views over the deep cleft of the pass from the tangled forest to the screes and scattered trees of Creag nan Gall

To the south the dense air gave a blue tinge to the north ridge of Cairn Gorm and the distant summir of Bynack More.

Leaving the track I descended through the rough forest into Ryvoan pass past many birches glorious in autumn colours.

The climb to Meall a'Bhuachaille, the highest of these hills, was sweaty and windswept. The light dulled and the sky darkened, with the big Cairngorm tops disappearing in the clouds. Along the ridge the sky changed constantly as the sun and clouds fought for dominance. The blustery wind made photography difficult but a sunny lull gave this view back south along along the ridge.

To the north cloud-filtered sunlight gave a soft but colourful wash over Abernethy Forest and lochs Mallachie and Garten. Beyond the flat forest plain the distand moorland merged with the misty sky.

Descending at dusk there was just a touch of colour in the sky over the dark Gleann Einich hills.


  1. That last picture is achingly gorgeous!

    Worth all the sweat, then!

  2. Congratulations Chris. You're one of the few who give prominence to the views and places (rather than to themselves!) and the quality shows up when you're writing about one of the lesser hills.