Sunday, 15 October 2017

Cairngorm contrast - golden time

During the first half of October I had the opportunity to visit several areas of the Cairngorms over a period of four consecutive days whilst assessing two Duke of Edinburgh's Award groups.  The teams would travel from Deeside across to Speyside, covering over 80 kilometres whilst investigating an aim for their venture.

The first two days were forecast to have really fine autumnal weather, the third and fourth days would bring something much more challenging - but more of that later!

I planned to meet both teams in the forest and moors above Invercauld and set out on my bike along the network of estate tracks on a pleasant afternoon.

In position along the route the teams would take, I had plenty of time in had to sit and make a cup of tea whilst enjoying the play of early evening light across the moorland.  The heather has turned from purple to a greenish bronze and the light seemed warm and benign.  It's good to pause and take some time in the hills occasionally; to enjoy some "golden time" just absorbing the surroundings - and it was a great evening to do so.

I spent much of the following day in Glen Derry, and again had plenty of time to just sit and observe.  The autumnal colours are really starting to take hold now, the leaves of this Rowan turning from green to yellow and set off nicely against a background of dark green pines.

Finding a vantage point from where I could  see the teams approaching from some distance, the "brew kit" came out and a cup of tea was soon in hand.  The view to Derry Cairngorm is a fine one; it's been a few years since I climbed this particular hill - something I must rectify soon.  Overhead, the unmistakeable wild music of Pink Footed Geese added a note of autumn sounds.

This Birch tree was visible from some kilomteres as a brilliant yellow firecracker standing out against the muted moorland shades - just beautiful, but perhaps it might be in the wrong location........

........because the corrie at the base of Derry Cairngorm is called Coire Craobh an Oir (Corrie of the tree of gold).  The teams would journey around the base of Derry Cairngorm and below the dark spur of Devil's Point which can just be glimpsed centre left in this image.  Although the weather looked settled, the forecast told a very different story and their day would bring them challenge in plentiful supply.

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