Saturday, 7 December 2013

Creag Bheag. Kingussie. Glen Banchor. Badnoch.

Still in the Aviemore area it looked a very promising day when we drove up through the mountains of Badnoch. For me at least. Rain and sleet at high levels over the mountains, sunny and dry lower down. Graeme, whose car we were in, is still keen on bagging Munros despite having climbed them all in his youth so a big peak down in nearby Glen Banchor was on the cards. Andy was up for that as well. I was happy to do it in good conditions just for the exercise.
Luckily for me a heavy shower of freezing cold rain and a howling wind at the exposed car park high above Newtonmore put them off and we sat in the vehicle for ten minutes waiting to see if it would go off. These guys will gamely trudge up a mountain in driving  rain and mist if they get a dry start from the outset but the weather looked as if it was getting worse which dampened their enthusiasm.
On the way up the road I'd noticed the autumn colours were at their peak so I was keen to capture them. Of course you only get autumn colours at lower levels :))
Can you guess what happened next folks?
Just a short distance from Glen Banchor lies Creag Bheag, 486 metres or 1,600 feet, a fine little rocky peak I discovered last year and a perfect lower level alternative. I promised them it was a fantastic little mountain with shelter in the woods most of the way up, which it is and it has. It was just under the cloud base and the one brief heavy shower we did get we were able to shelter in the forest before a dash for the top when the sun arrived again. ( I melt in the rain you know!)
It also had cracking views down to Kingussie, resplendent in autumn colours and a wide view over the Cairngorms buried in clag. And a nice rainbow.

Were they grateful?... Were they F....
finding the hill to their liking?
Hard to tell. Lets just say they were not enjoying the views as much as me, probably wishing they were higher up in the grim stuff instead of basking in bright sunshine, good views, and gentle winds. I was quite happy to hose them down with freezing water back at the hut then beat them both with a big stick if they could only enjoy themselves when their bodies were being frozen, tortured and abused but only if that took place in a dry sunny spot of course.
Kingussie looked amazing when you studied individual pockets and squares below. A delightful tapestry of different deciduous trees and houses.
Even found an orange peel fungus growing out of a crack on the path.
and a nice walk through the forest on the trail back with the dying fronds of bracken a fetching shade of white. Very ghostly in the dull conditions. Arrived back at the car bone dry and warm. Mission accomplished once again!

A view of Pitlochry and Ben Vrackie on the journey up.


Carol said...

We haven't had any autumn colours to speak of around here yet again this year - I think last year was the first time in ages :-(

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
You must be either high up or have the wrong type of trees. I still maintain the best autumn colours to be found are in city parklands as usually they have been gathered from all corners of the world.

Carol said...

We've got all types of trees. But the weather here is pretty dire and, most years, we don't get any autumn colours nowadays :-( Maybe it's the warm heat-island effect of your cities which allow your trees to die off properly in autumn.