Thursday, 17 October 2019
All of a sudden it seems, the golden colours of autumn have come alive in Aberdeenshire. On a walk above Glen Derry, the trees of the Doire Bhraghad (broad wood) have gained a palette of rich browns and glowing gold among the bottle green of the pines. There's a long view north from here to the heart of the Cairngorms - the giants of Derry Cairngorm and Ben Macdui showed up well in the clear air.
The purple of late summer heather has faded to a purple-brown as the flowers dry out in the wind; it's not as bright as the swathes of stunning purple brilliance but has its own subtle beauty. As with many places in the east of the country, the hills have a plaid of dark green pines across their lower slopes....always the pinewoods as a setting.
A set of prints in the mud of a forest track - smaller than a fox, larger than a stoat or weasel? - ah, of course.... Red Squirrel, that bright spark of energy among the trees.
The pace had slowed; this was no day to be charging around the hill. To stop and absorb the colours, the shifting light and the shimmer of golden birch leaves in the breeze seemed the way to get the best of the day.
At times the colours were breathtaking. Just after taking this image, two Ravens powered into the sky from a big pine, flying straight and true with deep "krokk" calls. We weren't the source of their alarm, so we followed their flight and, as suspected, a Golden Eagle slipped down the breeze overhead. The Ravens started to mob it, but soon backed off when the eagle banked sharply and lashed out with its talons before casually resuming its glide towards the valley of the Dee, all rich brown against the blue.
On the short drive home we stopped of in Crathie to visit a new enterprise. We've been regular customers of the Highlanders Bakehouse who sell superb breads at local farmers markets in Aberdeenshire. The new enterprise is a cafe and shop, a big step for a young couple who have put everything into getting it up and running. We can report that the food is superb, fresh, local and wholesome, if you travel on the A93 on Deeside, don't miss it!
It had been a beautiful autumn day, but there was one last treat.........
.....when the huge "hunter's moon" (the full moon after the September equinox harvest moon) rose over the fields of home - a fitting golden end to a golden October day.