A few days ago I took advantage of the fine October weather to camp high in the Cairngorms on a glorious frosty night.
The birches glowed gold and yellow in the low evening sun as I followed the path through the woods and out on to the open hillside above Glen Feshie. The air was warm and still and I was soon damp with sweat as I climbed steadily towards the long broad ridge high above and the summit of Sgor Gaoith.
|The sun sets behind Creag Meagaidh|
I reached the shoulder of the mountain just as the sun was setting. The air cooled rapidly as a crescent moon hung above the fading remnants of a bright sunset. I was soon in my sleeping bag and firing up the stove for hot soup.
An occasional breeze drifting into the tent and chilling my face woke me a couple of times during the night. Through the open door I could the constellation of Orion on the horizon and high above the dense curving band of the Milky Way.
|Waiting for the first warming drink|
Awake before dawn I watched the eastern horizon turn a hazy pink. Cloud filled the glens far below. Up here the ground was white with frost. The tent door crackled as thin slivers of frozen condensation slid off. My pot steamed on the stove as dampness on its sides evaporated.
|A very frosty morning|
Once the sun appeared the air heated up quickly, though the frost remained everywhere out of reach of the sun. From Sgor Gaoith I looked down to shaded, cold Loch Einich and west to sunny sharp peaks – Ben Nevis, Creag Meagaidh – rising above the clouds.
|View down to Loch Einich|
Heading down a long spur I watched the cloud below rising and falling, advancing and retreating over Loch an Eilein and Rothiemurchus Forest. It was dissipating fast when I reached the first trees and my walk ended as it had begun, admiring the autumn birches shining in the sun.
|View down to Loch an Eilein|