Loch an Eilein, Changing and Unchanging

I've walked up into the Lairig Ghru at least once each month in 2015 - each time starting from the car park at Loch an Eilein, and inevitably taking some pictures of the Loch with the iconic pine trees on a little head-land at its north end.

The cloud level may wander up and down, the sunshine may come and go and the state of the water (from frozen to still to windswept) may change but there is something unchanging about the scene through the year.

January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015

Shetland September 2015

After the September visit to the Cairngorms, there was just enough time to fit in a few days on Shetland before heading back to other activities in southern England.

But it was just long enough to have a look around the harbours in Lerwick and Scalloway.

High Tide at Hays Docks
Caribbean Princess, slightly smaller than Bressey but more people
Gemini at Scalloway
Scalloway Castle

And to wander along a few beaches.

West Voe of Sumburgh
Meal Beach
Quendale Beach

And to explore a few cliffs and headlands.

Scat Ness
Horse Holm, off the southern tip of Scat Ness
Looking north from Windy Stacks, Fitful Head

And to chat with the local livestock.

Sheep at Tingwall
Sumburgh Cattle

And to get a quick glimpse of the Northern Lights.

From the kitchen window

Fab place Shetland.

Heather and Water – Lairig Ghru V9

The most dramatic changes since the August walk were the eruption of the heather, and the return of the water.
Rothiemurchus Heather
Allt Dhruidh at Cairngorm Club Footbridge
In August the ground felt very dry, and the trees and bushes had lost their early summer vibrancy, this time Autumn had kicked in and there had clearly been a lot of rain.  The burns were full to overflowing and you needed to give a little bit of thought before striding through the fords.  And the muddy bits were properly muddy again – and had been well churned up by the mountain bikes that were still around in big numbers.

Allt Dhruidh at Sinclair Memorial
Top Ford refilled
Over a weekend I did two versions of my regular walk – once up to Top Tree (see the August blog) and on the second longer day up to the Last Ford, and yet again I got dry, mostly sunny, weather on both days.

Ever changing waymark
Lochan Deo (Sparkling Loch)
The bright clear weather also brings the morning reminder that the year is moving on – there wasn't any sign of overnight frosts but the cool morning air was a reminder that they can’t be far away.

Low clouds around Loch an Eilein
 And, mirroring the August walk, as I was heading off to Shetland a reminder that cloud levels (like stock markets) can go down as well as up at this time of year.