Thursday, 12 April 2018

Suddenly it feels like spring

The view from Craigellachie

Spring in the Cairngorms has been creeping in slowly this year. East winds and snow have kept a wintry feel to the landscape. Spring birds are arriving – curlews, lapwings, oystercatchers in the meadows – but the buds on the trees are only just showing signs of opening and there are few flowers. The land still has that faded look, shades of fawn, yellow and brown. The greening of spring is still to come.

In the Craigellachie woods
 
Yesterday though it suddenly felt like spring was here. I went up Craigellachie, that tree clad crag rising above Aviemore, and the air was warm. For the first time since late summer last year a sunhat and sunglasses were more important than warm clothing. I didn’t need even a light jacket let alone hat or gloves. On the summit I sat on a rock warmed by the sun and stared over the landscape. The hills faded into a distant haze. The air felt thick and heavy. The day before with the clouds low and dark and a bitter wind I thought it felt more like November than April. Today it felt more like August.

Craigellachie birch woods

Below the summit the birch woods were beautiful with that purple sheen that comes in late winter as the leaf buds expand and prepare to burst into life. There were no flowers, no fresh green, no bright colours yet but there was an expectancy, a sense that all was about to change. Spring has begun.

Hill fading away

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