With one last day of reasonable weather forecast before big storms arrived I headed for Glen Feshie to see how the autumn was progressing there and to visit one of the most dramatic viewpoints in the Cairngorms for the first time this year. Down in the forest all was quiet with just a gentle breeze softly brushing the trees and rippling the grasses. In open areas the bracken was changing colour from the dull dense green of summer to the brighter yellows and russets of autumn. Some of the birches were showing yellow tints too and the first fallen leaves lay on the path. The rowan leaves were still green but their clusters of bright red berries showed the season.
On the hillsides above the last trees spiky clumps of deer grass gave an orange sheen to the landscape. Higher still the hills were brown and grey with summer’s greenness gone. I wound through the fading heather and up onto the stony slopes where the short coarse grasses were tawny and yellow. As I climbed the breeze became a strong wind and then, as I reached the first summit, a screaming gale. The sky was dappled with high thin clouds. Out west the views were hazy. On reaching the crest of the hills I could see far to the east for the first time and there the clouds were thick and dark, rearing up into the sky. A mountain hare streaked over the stones. Soon it will be in its white winter coat.
Buffeted by the cold wind I climbed the last slopes to the little pointed summit of Sgor Gaoith. Today the peak of the winds was aptly named. Far below my feet lay Loch Einich and out of its corrie the wind came roaring, surging over the summit in great gusts. The view was magnificent but this was not a place to linger and I was soon heading back down to drop suddenly out of the wind and into warmer air.
As I approached the first trees three deer bounded down the slope in front of me. Soon the stags will be roaring as the rut begins. Today they were silent. Also quiet, unlike their red cousins, were a pair of black grouse that flapped out of a clearing in the trees. Soon I was back in Glen Feshie after what felt like the first real autumn walk of the year.