Friday 3 August 2018

Loch an Eilein and the Argyll Stone: a Cairngorms walk

The heatwave in the Highlands has decayed. Rain and wind have cooled the hills. Warmth comes in bursts now rather than blasting heat all day long. Loch an Eilein at the end of July was surging with windswept waves. Low clouds streaked across the sky, bringing distant squalls. The air felt heavy and sticky. Brooding.

There hasn't been that much rain though and the effects of the heatwave can still be seen. Above is a dried up pool in the forest. This is what it looked like a year ago.

The old steep overgrown path up Coire Follais is strenuous and rough but the rewards are the glorious forest, the rugged crags, and the tumbling burn, still rushing down despite the heatwave. This is a wonderful wild and secretive place.

In open areas there are views back over Loch an Eilein. The forest feels vast. It's easy to imagine it stretching out across the Highlands, mile after mile after mile. If only. At least we have this remnant. And it is slowly expanding.

As the trees began to fade as I climbed higher the heather took over, turning purple now. There were bilberries, deliciously sweet, but also a cold wind that kept me moving, my sweat-soaked clothes feeling chilly now.

Once I reached the long ridge separating Glen Feshie and Gleann Einich the wind battered me. Here I was just below the clouds. The higher hills were hidden. Patches of blue sky came and went, as did grey squalls of rain. Streaks of rainbows appeared and faded. I felt a touch of rain, no more. Soon I was heading down steep rough pathless slopes into the shelter of the trees.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely Chris, especially the second last image

    Kind Regards