|Heading for the summit|
In a week of storms the sixth day of the new year looked to be the most likely to give reasonable weather, especially in the Monadh Liath hills to the north of the Cairngorms. So for my first hill of the year I went up the big rolling moorland dome of Geal-charn Mor to the west of Aviemore with three others.
|View down An Gleannan to Strathspey|
The Northern Cairngorms were shrouded in cloud as we began the climb up through the lovely birch and pine forest of An Gleannan. These higher hills were to remain that way all day but scene wasn’t of a dull grey blanket as the clouds swirled and twisted around their lower slopes with flashes of sunshine breaking through at times to give wonderful, constantly changing, magical light. Above us a dark cloud hung but it stayed above the summit and to either side the sky was much brighter.
|On the descent|
Once we left the trees a cold wind began to bite and soon we were walking on frozen ground and a thin covering of snow. Frost feathers decorated the dead grass. On the summit the wind was strong and bitter so after a hasty snack and a compass bearing we set off down featureless slopes before picking up a path that led to the warmer, greener land below. The brightness had left the sky and the first rain was falling just as we reached the car. A fine first hill day of the year was over.