Above the mist

Strathspey afterglow

Strathspey afterglow from Craigellachie

Solstice greetings!  Its midday, dark, and pouring on the shortest day –  time to go in and see if we’ve come full circle this year, or another spiral on the progression.

This is a suitable image for today, I feel – getting above it all, and seeing the light and colour.  Mist had been heavy all day, drippy and gloomy down in the valley, but I had the thought that it might clear sufficiently at sunset if I was high enough.

Strathspey mist and Cromd
Cromdale hills catching the sunset above Strathspey mist

I was too late leaving (or too slow climbing) to catch the sunset on the mist, but went higher in the gathering gloom until I reached the high point looking south over Strathspey.  Mist swirled to the valley edges, awash with purples and oranges from the sunset afterglow.  I sat as long as I could watching the colour, conscious of the growing dark.  I loved this (top) image, with the lights of the next village showing as little pinpoints of light through the mist.

Putting my camera in the bag, I turned to get up, and saw a mountain hare sitting, watching me about 20 feet away.  (S)he was in full winter white coat, standing out a mile against the dark heather.  I love these hares, they are incredibly quick and agile, just very beautiful animals totally in tune with their harsh environment.  I remember once when I was out back-country skiing, the weather had come down to a total whiteout and suddenly I came across a hare sheltering inside  a wee snow-cave, with just her nose sticking out, whiskers twitching.  I was so close I could have touched her.  This was years before modern digital cameras existed, so no photos!

Award-winning Strathspey wildlife photographer Neil McIntyre has some fabulous hare images.

The drawback to being so high up for sunset meant descending the crag by torchlight, with the village lights below to guide me.

Aviemore lights in the evening mist
The lights of home,

Have a very Happy Christmas!

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