Beauty and the Beast

Scots Pine in heather bloom, rothiemurchus, Cairngorms National park, Scotland

Scots Pine in heather bloom

The light was just incredible on this late evening, just before sunset, the heather glowing purple and giving off clouds of pollen.  Unfortunately there was not even the slightest breeze, and thick clouds of midges were taking full advantage. Its an exercise in pure mental focus to concentrate on a photograph whilst being chewed alive… before running screaming and doing a funny wee dance.

These lovely old granny pines – perhaps 350 yeas old – are the heart of this forest, the largest remnant of the native Caledonian forest which once covered the Highlands.

Further up through the forest the view opens out, but despite the rays of peachy light streaming across the landscape I daren’t wait for the sunset colours.  Hanging around was out of the question.  Luckily we don’t often get it this bad!

Sunset rays across Monadliath Hills,Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
Sunset rays across the Monadliath Mountains

I’m hoping the beauty comes across in the photos, and the beasties haven’t…

“At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.”

– Robert Macfarlane, ‘Mountains of the Mind’

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