|The road through the wood|
The rain began late in the afternoon as the world turned grey and the hills vanished into the solid clouds. Thirty-four hours later and it is still raining, the sky still dark and dense. I drove to Glenmore Lodge to meet people from Berghaus and look, appropriately, at new hydrophobic down clothing, lightweight waterproofs, trail shoes and packs (of which more anon). Outside the mountains were hidden and the rain streaked the windows. Inside was a good place to be. I abandoned plans for an afternoon walk. Driving home every dip in the road was flooded. I was pleased to make it through some of the deeper pools. The River Spey was overflowing its banks, not for the first time this wet year.
|Gold and green|
Before the rains came I wandered the local woods and fields to see how the Strathspey autumn colours were developing. Some birches are gold, some still mostly green. The rowans are rich with berries; their leaves a mix of red and dark green. The larches and beeches have barely begun to turn. Many exposed trees have been stripped of their leaves by last week's gales. Underfoot the ground is soft and spongy. The distant hills are brown, the green tinge of summer, which always seems superficial, long gone.
|The Cromdale Hills rising above a beech and larch wood still mostly in summer green. The birches in the foreground know it's autumn|
The colours are changing almost by the hour. After a few more frosts they should be at their peak before the slow fade into winters starkness begins. By mid November the last leaves have usually fallen.
|The golden wood|
|The distant Cairngorms rising above the forests at dusk|
|Birch and pine|
|Rowan red, rowan green|