Tuesday 2 January 2018

New Years Eve, New Years Day

Across Strathspey to the Cromdale Hills on New Years Day

The old year faded away in soft mist and cloud. The new year began much the same way. Nature doesn't acknowledge or notice our arbitrary division of years. Winter just continues.

The temperatures hung around freezing. The air was still. A slight thaw for a few hours on New Years Eve softened and shrank the snow. Overnight cooling turned the snow crunchy and slippery. Bands of mist drifted along the strath, marking the line of the River Spey, and floated in layers across the hills. The High Cairngorms remained hidden. The land was quiet, waiting, maybe asleep.

Across Strathspey to the Cromdale Hills on New Years Eve

The constantly shifting mists gave an ethereal feel to the landscape. Hillsides appeared and faded away. The hazy Cromdale Hills, sometimes floating above the mist with the long summit ridge rising into clouds, could at times have been Himalayan giants. Strands of mist laced the tops of the forest.

New Years Eve rainbow

Rain and sleet accompanied the New Years Eve thaw, making the air feel colder than when it was dry and the temperature lower. As the dark storm clouds moved away late in the day the sun caught them and a rainbow appeared, a fitting finale to the year.

Dusk, New Years Eve

On both days the clouds began to break and dissolve as the light faded, the sun lighting them gentle shades of orange, red and pink. Subdued sunsets on subdued days. The snow made walking under the darkening sky easy with no need for torches. Then as the clouds thinned some more a hazy moon could be glimpsed, soon strengthening and brightening, a bright aura surrounding it.
New Year moon

This, the first full moon of the year, is known as the Wolf Moon (actually full on the 2nd but it looks much the same!). I gazed up, imagining the sound of wolves howling in the woods. If only. Instead there came the soft hooting of owls. Wild hunters of a different sort. Then at midnight a burst of colours and explosions lit the distant sky - the New Year celebrations in Grantown-on-Spey. Across the strath more fireworks in Cromdale. The quiet and the owls soon returned. The year had changed. The owls hooted on, oblivious.

Strathspey, New Years Day

The first day of the new year faded away just as the last day of the old year had, the clouds turning pink in the last rays of the sun. The woods dark, the fields white with snow. The air still. A quiet change.

Dusk, New Years Day

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