Walkers in the Cairngorms
This Tuesday, January 17, Highland Council will pronounce on the proposed Allt Duine Wind Farm, giving it approval or rejection. Before debating and deciding members of the planning committee will visit various places in Strathspey from which the turbines will be visible. Today I did just that along with photographer John Paul from Inverness, there on behalf of The Independent newspaper, which will be running a piece on the wind farm on Tuesday. The turbines will be clearly in view from the Coire Cas car park but to get photos without any intervening hills we wandered over to the slopes of little Airgiod-meall from where you can look over Rothiemurchus Forest and Loch an Eilein to the Monadh Liath and the line of moorland on which the turbines are planned to be built. Unfortunately high clouds had made the light flat and dull. The best light was behind us over the Northern Corries of Cairn Gorm rather than west over the Monadh Liath.
Sgor Gaoith at dusk
Once our photographic jaunt was over I set off up to the Cairngorm Plateau. As it was well past one o’clock I only had a few hours of daylight left so I didn’t plan on going far. I just wanted to see the high tops in winter garb and perhaps see a fine sunset. Although there were only patches of snow left masses of frost, ice between the stones and boulders and freezing temperatures ensued it really felt like winter. On the windy summit of Cairn Gorm overmitts were needed along with my jacket hood.
Cairn Lochan after sunset
By mid-afternoon the low sun was already turning the streaked clouds orange and pink. Sunset and dusk was long and slow with ever-changing colours and patterns, making the descent a chilly joy. Those grey clouds that had dulled the sky and the land were now gloriously exuberant.