Wednesday 2 September 2020

The last day of August in the hills - autumn colours appearing, brilliant evening light, bitter wind.


August ended cold with strong winds. On the last day of the month I went to Glen Feshie and climbed up through the woods to the bouldery summit of Geal Charn and a high level walk over Meall Buidhe to Sgor Gaoith. On the tops the wind was bitter and I wore hat, gloves, fleece top and windproof jacket. Summer, it seemed, was over up here. Two walkers descending were similarly clad. I saw no-one else.

The hillsides looked autumnal, the purple heather fading, the grasses turning yellow and red. Above the clouds were thick and dark, though above the summits. There was brightness in the sky though, to the west, east and north. But not here.

I didn't reach Sgor Gaoith until 7.30 pm. The sky was already darkening. Loch Einich was in shadow and the view down to the loch and across to Braeriach was strangely subdued. Usually this tremendous scene dominates but not today. The flatness of the light took away the drama. Instead my eye was drawn west to the rays of the low sun cutting under the clouds, sending down brightness onto Creag Meagaidh and the Monadhliath.

Throughout my descent in the dusk the light in the west shone bright, making it hard to keep my footing on the slippery, boggy, rock-laced pathless slopes, especially as the light faded. 

Reaching the path above the Allt Ruadh made the going easier as I could see the pale line cutting through the dark heather. The clouds were clearing and the first stars were in the sky as I reached the dark shadow of the woods. The edge of the last clouds turned bright silver and then the moon, almost full, rose, its bright shafts illuminating the ground between the trees. Shadowed areas became pools of impentratable black. I stumbled over an invisible root and relucantly switched on my headlamp. There was a chill in the air now, my breath visible. August, and maybe summer, was over.


  1. Lovely images Chris, especially the first one. Captures the mood of the approach of Autumn very well.

  2. Certainly stirs the emotions reading your musings.