Wednesday 11 February 2015

The Slow Thaw Continues

Strathspey and the Cairngorms

As the sunny weather continues and the daytime temperatures creep up to 4 and 5 degrees C, so the gradual thaw continues down in the straths and glens and on the lower hills, though the High Cairngorms remain white. The still low sun means that anywhere with even the slightest slope to the north or east is still snowy whilst anywhere exposed to the sun is mostly bare. This leads to a striped effect on the landscape with lines of snow lacing the hills and fields. The trees though are brown and grey, the heavy snow that decorated their branches just a few days ago gone completely.
The Cromdale Hills

Underfoot the snow is crunchy and crusted, breaking when weighted and making walking difficult. Wandering through the fields I took a zigzag route, avoiding the snow wherever possible. Rabbits darted over the grass, able now to eat without having to dig through the snow. A roe deer ventured out from a copse but soon trotted back into the trees. A flock of rooks were noisy in one field and fieldfares called loudly from the trees. After the big freeze nature is coming back to life.

Some of the snow drifts were still deep and extensive with windblown banks pile up in rows against crumbling stone walls. It will be interesting to see how long these last.
Snow drifts           

In the sunbshine the air felt warm with hat and gloves superfluous but stepping into the shade or encountering a breeze was a reminder that it's still winter.

Green grass, white snow

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