Friday, 30 January 2015

Black and White

This morning's sunrise provided one of the few splashes of colour in a day which has been dominated by a cold northerly wind bringing in frequent and, at times, heavy snow showers.

We are always very wary of walking out into the wilderness on days when the weather might cause problems, so we chose a walk which had few steep slopes but which did get us into the higher areas where the snow remained thick on the ground.  So we drove out of Kilchoan to the corner of the Beinn nan Losgann forestry and walked northwest up into the headwaters of the Allt Rath a'Bheulain, one of the tributaries of the Allt Choire Mhuilinn.

Looking back down the wide glen which the burn occupies gave us views of a gaunt Ben Hiant and of the Beinn nan Losgann forestry.  One thing we remarked upon, which the photo faithfully reproduces, was the pitch black of the trees.  On any normal day they're a dark green, but there's something about the light of a grey, snowy day which means they absorb it totally.

As we climbed steadily higher - those are the lower slopes of Beinn an Leathaid on the left - so the clouds gathered until a dark squall front rolled up the glen of the Acheteny Water towards Loch Mudle.

The snow caught us as we reached Lochan Tom Mhic Iain. Soon we were struggling through almost whiteout conditions - this picture was taken as the snow, driven along by a cutting wind, began to ease.

Having climbed Tom Mhic Iain, the knoll behind the lochan, we stood to look across at Ben Hiant.  The snow picks out every structure on a mountainside wonderfully.  One has the impression of looking at something which is alive, crouching, its muscles clearly visible under its skin.

We descended by following the Allt Rath a'Bheulain downstream, at one point looking up at the higher slopes of Beinn nan Losgann where two red deer hinds, the only wildlife we saw all morning, were grazing.  Why they should have chosen such an exposed position is a bit of a mystery.

The burns cut black scars across the landscape.  This little waterfall is one we've visited often before as it has a stone structure, visible on a ledge on the other side of the burn, which was almost certainly some sort of dwelling.  It's a beautiful spot in summer, and even at this time of year it's wonderfully protected from the elements.

As we neared the car the next batch of snow rolled in.  When we arrived in the village it was snowing again, and the forecast for tomorrow is, if anything, worse, as snow looks to continue but blown south from the Arctic on gale force winds.


  1. They're all magical photos, as ever, but I find that last one particularly stunning. (RB.)

  2. RB - Thank you for your kind comment. Jon