Sun, Nov 10, 2019
Minus three on the tops, thirty mile an hour winds raking the last of autumn colour from the Cuillin ridge, laying down a white carpet ready for the arrival of the Winter Queen. Blasting down from the north, she detours out beyond St. Kilda, raising storm-seas in the cold Atlantic before swinging round Mingulay, resting on the raucus cliffs of Barra Head before howling in tonight to claim the mountains for her winter home.
Ahead of the stormy forecast we headed up Beinn na Cro in an icy gale, the eroded path solid underfoot. A path I don’t remember the last time I was up this way, on this quiet hill. Prostrate juniper growing low, hugging the windswept ground, playing snakes and ladders amongst the scattered gabbro boulders.
The wind howled across the narrow grassy ridge just as we reached the summit, chilling out ears and numbing exposed skin in the minus ten windchill. A grand day to be out and about in the mountains. Ridges led over ridges over bealachs and lower summits to the grand view of a white crenellated Sgurr nan Gillean as eyes streamed in the cold wind while the Cuillin ridge rose into the winter sky.
Dr. A.H.B. Man enjoyed good sport on the summit rocks, making the most of the cold grippy conditions and hallooing all who came within earshot. I caught him reading Nan Shepherd the other night by the light of his old Tilley lamp. “This is magic”, he shouted, “we have to go there!”. I think he’s angling for a night on the plateau. I think I might join him.