Friday, 29 May 2020


The beautiful Dotterel, Cairngorm plateau yesterday
10 weeks of not being on the mountains is the longest time in my life, and that's a fair few years! Friday 29th May was a day that we were allowed access to the mountains again here in Scotland. That is, if you live around 5 miles from any hills. The Scottish government and SMRT's published the guidelines this week. Phase 1 of coming out started 29th May.
Some folk may say 'you're so lucky living near the mountains'. My reply, as always is 'Luck didn't land me in The Highlands. Hard work, commitment, scarifices and determination have given me nearly 30 years of living in these wonderful places'.
Loch Avon Basin

Feithe Buidhe slabs
It was with great joy that I set off by bike from my house on Friday and cycled up to the Coaire Cas carpark in glorious early morning sunshine. The snow gates are closed at Glenmore still. I've cycled up the road many times over the last 10 weeks which keeps you fit, especially when carrying camera equipment weighing 3kg. I am proud and glad to state that since restrictions set in over 10 weeks ago we have only used the car on 3 occasions and that was for the 5 minutes drive into Aviemore for shopping. All my exercise bike rides and walks have started from my front door. Today was no exception.

Bike ride from the house to Coire Cas carpark

Glorious morning 
I took a wander over the Cairngorm plateau after a visit to Coire an Lochain, a familiar route. Once up on the plateau via the Twin Burns it was so warm, no hot! Clear skies and hot sunshine for the rest of the day. I only saw 3 solo walkers all day. On my way over to the Feithe Buidhe area I got a wonderful 20 minutes with a single Dotterel. This beautiful migratory plover  travels the long route from West Africa for breeding on our hostile (sometimes) high Cairngorm plateau. A ground nesting bird that is a delight to see and only found on the high tops in The Scottish mountains
Female Dotterel

Beautiful markings
Just 20 minutes later the plateau was filled with the beautiful call of the male Snow Bunting. Another one of our special birds up here. The male changes its plumage in the summer months and very different markings from the female. There's nothing quite has lovely as the singing of a snow bunting on the hills.
Male Snow Bunting

Female Snow Bunting
I had lunch at my favourite viewpoint of the entire Cairngorms. Stunning views of the Loch Avon basin. I sat and drank out of the Feithe Buidhe waters, pure magic. 2 litres went down very easily in the scorching hot conditions. Apparently Aviemore was one of the hotest places in the UK at 27 C.

Fiacaill Coire Sneachda
Even the reindeer where high up on the plateau today. Savouring the cool snow patches, a common sight when it gets hot up here.
Reindeer cooling off

Bemused by humans
Back down to the carpark. Day topped off with the beautiful Ring Ouzels around the ski area. A fab whizz back down the ski road on the bike. A grand day out. It's  great to be back!
Loch Avon beaches

Traling Azalea

Ring Ouzel

See you soon

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