Sunday 1 December 2019

December begins with a monochrome day in the Cairngorms

After a brilliant sunny day, which I spent driving over to Aboyne on Deeside to give a talk on my Scottish Watershed walk at Hilltrek (whose new shop looks good), the clouds rolled in across the Cairngorms. With two days in Pitlochry at John Muir Trust meetings coming up I wanted some time in the hills anyway so I scraped the ice off the car and headed for Coire Cas from where I wandered into the Northern Corries.

The ground was frozen but only just and the burns were crashing down from the upper corries, their edges laced with pillars of ice. The sodden boggy ground was treacherous, barely holding my weight. I was lucky to avoid wet feet.

There were only a few other people around, surprising for a Sunday. Later in the day I did see several parties of climbers coming down from the cliffs, after what must have been mysterious climbs in the dense mist.

Once in the cloud I could barely see fifty metres. If there's been more snow it would have been a white-out. As it was there were enough rocks and patches of ice and pools of water not to confuse the ground with the sky.

The mist, snow and ice drained virtually all the colour from the land. The pictures above are not black and white ones.

Only at the end of the day was there a touch of colour above Meall a'Bhuachaille.

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