Saturday, 31 October 2015

On the Hills, By the River


On the Cairngorm Plateau

Two days, two very different walks in the Cairngorms National Park. In blustery showers and a cold wind I wandered over the Cairngorm Plateau. The hills were brown and grey, warm in the shifting sunlight, cold under the dark clouds. The air was sharply cold and wintry, but the land was bare, the brief snow of last week long gone. Only a scattering of remnant patches of last year’s snow suggested the winter to come. 

Squalls over Strathspey
 
Squalls of rain blasted past, often lasting only seconds. Out over Aviemore I watched a series of them racing down Strathspey. At dusk there was a hint of pink but the clouds quickly closed in and I descended from Cairn Lochan under an overcast sky. Yet so fast was the wind changing the sky that by the time I was crossing the mouth of Coire an t-Sneachda the clouds had gone and the first stars were appearing.

Dusk on the Cairngorm Plateau with snow patches from last winter standing out

The River Spey at Grantown-on-Spey
 
Looking down to the woods of Glenmore and Rothiemurchus I could see bright bursts of yellow and orange amongst the dark sombre pines. Despite the strong winds the autumn colours are not over. The next day I walked along the River Spey at Grantown-on-Spey, its banks a mass of brilliant colour. The water was dark and swirling, full from recent rains. In Anagach Woods the beeches were copper and gold, shining out amongst the dark confines of the tangled trees. It’s been a glorious autumn.

At the Old Spey Bridge

In Anagach Woods

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