Sunday 20 January 2019

Clouds & mist & sun & snow: a glorious day in the Cairngorms

A distant Creag Meagaidh rises above a sea of clouds

Some days the weather is perfect and grey skies, bitter winds and dull light are forgotten. Such was yesterday. A day of deep blue skies and vast views. At least high in the Cairngorms. To the south and west clouds filled the glens. Down there the day would be dismal and damp.

A summit just pokes above the cloud in Strathspey

On the tops the air was calm, cold and bright. The only sound the crunching of my boots in the thin crisp snow. The hills felt vast as they stretched out to fade away in distant horizons.

On Cnap Coire na Spreidhe

As I headed up Cairn Gorm I watched a long cloud forming over Meall a'Bhuachaille and Creagan Gorm. I wandered over for a better look. This was a day for meandering, for going where my curiosity rather than following a set route. This cloud was unusual, just sitting along the summits. I've not seen this here before. Someone on one of those lower hills would think the day misty yet only a short way in any direction they'd have clear views.

Cloud on Meall a'Bhuachaille

On Cairn Gorm several groups were leaving the summit as I arrived. They missed the best of the light. The summit to myself, I wandered round, absorbing the views and the beauty. The moon, almost full, rose into the sky above a line of darkening pink.

Cairn Gorm Weather Station

The sun sank into the clouds. Beyond the now shadowed Cairngorm Plateau Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochan Uaine rose into an orange sky.

Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochan Uaine

I lingered until the final colour began to fade, reluctant to leave. A final flourish of searingly bright red far out to the west and it was time to head down into the moonlit night.

Last light


  1. Looks like a great day for a bit of meandering! Your photos are excellent, what camera system are you using these days?

    1. Same as for many years. Sony NEX 7 and a6000 cameras and mostly Sony E 10-18, 16-50 and 55-210 lenses.