Saturday 26 October 2019

Autumn to Winter, Lochan Uaine, Ryvoan Pass, Meall a'Bhuachaille

View over Loch Morlich at dusk

Summer is long gone. Autumn is slowly fading. Not many weeks ago there was lingering warmth as autumn gradually entered. Now there is the first cold of winter as autumn starts its lengthy exit. In the glens autumn still feels in control. On the summits winter is already here.

Snow lay in the garden the morning of the 25th, the first this autumn. Just a smattering, and it didn't last, but a sign of what's to come. The autumn colours are starting to fade. The cycle of nature rolls on.

In the forest

A walk through the woods and up to the summits is always a good way to experience the changing seasons in one day, altitude replacing time. A favourite I've written about and photographed many times but which never disappoints is the walk over Meall a'Bhuachaille from Glenmore. 

Lochan Uaine

The air was cold but still as I started out through the forest. The birches mostly were still a brilliant yellow, but I noticed a few stripped of their leaves. A breeze rippled Lochan Uaine. Under the overcast skies the water was dark, the surrounding pines sombre, making the brightness of the birches startlingly brilliant.

The Cairngorms from Meall a'Bhuachaille

On the way up Meall a'Bhuachaille the wind caught me, bone-chilling and bitter, quickly stripping away the warmth built up in the forest. Over the Cairngorms layers of cloud covered the sky, some catching the rays of the now low sun. The snow-spattered mountains looked firmly in winter's grip.

Weather edge

Over the lower hills to the north and east, out towards the coast, the sky was still mostly blue though the edge of approaching stormy weather was sharply delineated. West the sky was a tangle of racing clouds and patches of blue, constantly changing.

On the summit

Autumn had fled the summit of Meall a'Bhuachaille. Here it was winter, the ground frozen hard, spattered with remnants of the last snow fall, the wind painful and stinging. Cutting below the clouds the last rays of the sun gave a warm colour to the landscape but made no impression on the air. I didn't linger.


Descending in the dusk I watched the light changing over the distant hills. Down in the forest it was calm again.

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