Saturday 4 July 2020

A Glorious Return To The Hills On Meall a'Bhuachaille

Bynack More & Cairn Gorm

The weather forecast was correct and there was an evening of clear weather between two days of rain. So on the first day back on the hills after lockdown I didn't set off until 8pm. The rain had stopped by the time I started out through the dripping woods for Ryvoan Pass. In the trees there was little wind and the midges were out so I didn't linger, pausing only for a brief look at shadowed An Lochan Uaine. I feel it would be sacrilege to pass this lovely lochan without stopping, even though I've been here many, many times.

An Lochan Uaine

The wet woods were rich and green, splendid with the life of high summer. In marshy meadows orchids and buttercups shone amongst the thick grasses.

Once out of the forest I was in the wind and there were no more midges.  The highest summits were still wrapped in clouds, only Bynack More clear. Further west the clouds were thicker and looked more turbulent, swirling around Braeriach. This was the place to be.


As I climbed into the sunset the hills began to glow gold and the sky became streaked with pink and orange. The wind strengthened and the feel of summer faded.


As the sun sank below the horizon the moon, two days off full, rose hazily into the clouds.

The moon over the north ridge of Cairn Gorm

On the summit it was cold - my thermometer read 5.7C and the wind was strong, gusting to 22mph. Straight after taking this quick phone photo I had my hood up. A brief stop in the summit shelter for a hot drink and snack and it was time to move again. If I'd been high up for longer I'd have needed more clothes. It felt so good to be there though, after all the weeks away from the hills.

The hills were darkening as I began my descent, the golden glow gone, but out to the north-west the last rays of the long gone sun were still colouring the clouds.

Quickly out of the wind I soon reached the edge of the forest for a last view of the moon over Cairn Gorm before I plunged into the trees.

Back home I had a celebratory glass of Laphroiag whisky. I could not have had a better return to the hills.


  1. Superb Chris,the great outdoors at last !! All the best from Mark & Helen xx

  2. The expression on your face says it all Chris. I hope to take a similar selfie in a couple of weeks time. Hopefully enthusiasm will compensate for rusty joints due to months of inaction.

    1. I hope so too. I certainly felt the walk the day after!