Friday 10 July 2020

Sometimes the woods .....

I was almost in Aviemore when I heard the word 'thunder' on the radio. I was planning on a walk high in the Cairngorms, up on those bare, open, exposed slopes. But the forecast seemed to have changed. I stopped and checked . Rain and maybe thunder. Suddenly a walk in the woods seemed very attractive. I've had enough close calls with lightning, most recently in the Colorado Rockies last year, not to want any more.

Plan changed I went to Loch an Eilein. As I set off round the loch the hills were fading into thickening clouds. Spots of rain fell. By the time I was opposite the ruined castle on its little island the dark sky was dramatic and ominous.

The forest though was lovely, midsummer rich and verdant. I took the narrow path round reedy Loch Gamhna, soaking my trousers as I pushed through the vegetation.

Halfway round this second loch the rain started, dappling the water. The shelter of the trees gave some protection. It wasn't cold anyway and the dampness on my head was refreshing. The air felt alive, sharp and invigorating.

Up in the hills, on a long walk, or if camping out I would probably have pulled on waterproofs, not wanting my other clothes to get wet, but I was only out for a few hours. A little rain wouldn't hurt.

By the time I was completing the circuit of the two lochs it was more than a little rain. There were big puddles on the road back to Aviemore. I stopped to buy food and sat in the supermarket car park wondering whether to put my waterproof on for the dash across the open space to the door. I didn't bother and got wetter than I had in the woods.

I never heard any thunder. I didn't mind. The woods and the rain and the dramatic clouds were enough. If I'd gone up high I'd have had that word 'thunder' at the back of my mind, hurrying me on, keeping me on edge. The woods were a better choice.

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