Sagas of the Highlands: Meall a’ Bhuachaille and Creagan Gorm

Blazing a trail out from behind the Reindeer Centre in the highland mountains of the Cairngorms, I ventured to arise to two summits and view out, to honor eye, and observe my higher place in this land from where I stood. From the root point of where I commenced in my previous walkings, I set off alone with a burden on my mind, hoping to let it filter out into the white capped forestation, and deep faunic surroundings. I would climb some 5200 feet before the days end but for now I was on the middle ground.

Pacing through the foothills, with strains of acoustic music to carry my step, I IMG_1971drank in the brilliant light of the mountain bowls, and experienced the forest for what it was, the vast stretching Boreal. I could be anywhere, Northern Canada, to Russia, and for today, it was the Scottish atmosphere that lingered. Making way on easy route between the pines, I breeched a green loch, swimming with flakes of mica reflecting its rocky bottom. Old roots breathed through the swollen loch, like the world tree with it’s extremities submerged in the wells. Mirrored gradients reflected in a still and silent pool. Water. Sky. Animals. Trees. Back to the trail, and rising ground, after some hours the Sol was less conspicuous as I emerged from the foliages and ferns of the woods. Now open before me, the whole of the vista, rock capped with golemns, a few birds piping in the distance, though I could not detect their position in the barrenness. Moving the powder afoot and keeping speed to keep heat, a stone built bothy came into view. Inside, the survival needs, a hearth, some biscuits shared by a mouse, I took the rest. Emerging again into the elements, and traipsing up the path to another pond, this one frozen over, with delicate ice structures forming on the surface. Harking back and facing up to a summit, the first. I began the ascent, the lofty climb to my higher soul self as Nietzsche may put it if he were with me. IMG_1991

Evidently someone had taken the climb before, and my boots didst not sunk too far until the higher reaches. Two thirds way I halted and sat to breathe it all in. An AWE, like the shape of mountains. A grim storm cloud loomed and weighted floated not far in the distance, and I kept a keen eye on it’s migration as I kept climbing, 2,000, 2,200, 2,400, each few hundred metres the snow changed quality, I could lightly walked on the encrusted surface in parts and leave no trace of ever having been there. The animals knew though, wind swept uphill, they would see me long before I them. A lone mountain mouse crawled out of a hole some ten or so paces abroad, and scampered across the drifts, what is was looking for I can only imagine. It’s dangerous ground for a mouse, with all them buzzards and eagles and ravens and crows, and falcons up here. Most of these feathered friends I would glimpse afar off, not privy to boundary, so graciously aloft in aetheric currents, seeing the world from high. The deep decibels of a ravyns groak, and the high shrills of a buzzards bleak scream. IMG_1982On top I stood, and down I saw, this is where I experienced the world from the summit of Meall a’ Bhuachaille, and oh how many summit we have to climb in this life. Then I skirted the sideways slopes through waist high snow, diping into a concave, and rising back to meet Creagan Gorm, less than a km away and roughly the same altitude, yet so different in it’s habitat. IMG_1992IMG_1984

Small stunted pines poked through the snow, no higher than my own stature. Crossroads of trails of pheasant and mountain hare made winter roadways on the fresh powder. Then dashed out, a crystalline white hare from the dwarven trees before I could even detect it was there. I watched it flee so fervently and dashed to slightly higher ground then over an edge that mine eye could not catch. Soon after, a quick swarthe of black wings, not so large as the Corvid, erupted from the shades. A Ring Ouzel surely, or a small black Grouse. A special encounter, nonetheless.

IMG_1989Winding my way down, now with Loch Morlich clear in view from above, a lake I had coursed the outer edges of before, and the CairnGorms stately behind. I dragged on through the snow, still warm with my combat clothing, and found a meandering trailway back towards lower grounds. Sadly there is part of these majestic mountains that are logged, and I walked right into them, logs piled up in massive heaps, I could count their rings, entire families gone, elders, youth, my arboreal counterparts reduced to timber for creature comforts. Finding the bending backroads again, after 4 hours of traversing the slopes, the grim clouds earlier mentioned dissipated, and the endeavor came to be a success. I hit the tarmac and hitched home, back to my farm, warmed up with some whiskey and finished the night with some German philosophy reading. This night, I slept deep and dark.

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