It’s raining here in Scotland, but I’m thinking about snow. I’m still a bit monstrous, but I’m thinking about pretty things, sparkly things, Christmas baubles and frost and ice.Continue reading
The tiny blog is this one, sent from holiday. The big blog is my guest post on the official tourism site for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire: 10 Mystical and Magical Places in Aberdeenshire.
And Loch Morlich is in the pictures. I was there before the ducks were up today!
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Buchan Ness Lighthouse in Boddam, Aberdeenshire, shining its light out into the sunrise.
We’ve reached the point in the year, here in Northern Scotland, where light is scarce. It arrives late in the day and leaves early, by about 4pm. But that wintry low sun does some special things, especially at the beach…
We arrived in the dark. On a boat. It missed the pier and had to spin round and go back out to sea before trying again. It was all very exciting.
Port Askaig, Islay:
The view turns green.
Fairies dance and laugh in the woods.
The canopy returns.
Trees froth and flower, filling the air with their sweetness.
There’s blue above and blue below. The return of summer.
Clouds of mist swirled over the surface of the loch last night. An unexpectedly hot day led to unexpectedly beautiful conditions. Well, not completely unexpected, it’s always beautiful, always different.
Summer brings lush green foliage and colour to the loch*, it’s not very deep so swimming can be warm.
That glassy ‘stand and stare’ stillness can happen at any time of year. Sunsets are pink, silver or even purple. Whatever the sky is doing is intensified in reflection.
Winter is fierce. One year layer upon layer of ice and snow built up so thick that people and dogs ran about on it. It was at once surreal and yet so very real, unconnected from civilisation as it feels up there in the woods. No TV, no computers, just life and joy and fun on a natural huge flat screen among the trees.
I feel the need to go for a walk and wonder what awaits me today. A liquid mirror? Slow moving ripples? The slightest change in airflow, made visible by water. There’s blue in the sky so there will be in the loch. Maybe there’ll be swans, or an otter leaping about on the banks (happened once), a boat, a dog, an owl… Excuse me, I need to go.
* I freely admit to having overused the word ‘loch’ in this post. The word ‘lake’ is not a suitable substitute. If you don’t come from Scotland you can have no idea how very wrong that notion is. And while we’re at it, make sure you’re saying/thinking the word right. The ‘ch’ sound is like a Scottish wildcat (something I once saw up by the large expanse of water, but no one believes me) hissing in the back of your throat. There you are, got it.
How could I have forgotten what proper cold feels like? It pulls you up short as you realise that just breathing in the sub zero air is going to chill you, no matter how well wrapped up you are. And the dark, the days that don’t begin until half way through the morning and seem to end at 3 in the afternoon. This is the truth of December in Scotland. Even when there is only a tiny amount of snow.
I complain (this was especially evident during the five hour power cut we had last week), but I love it. It’s a time of hibernation, of books and log fires, and writing, writing, writing; no hot sun to distract and lure, only the occasional frosty bright sunrise. And that little bit of snow.
I’m also enjoying all the Christmas cookies and hot chocolate of the season, sparkly tree lights, nostalgia made real.
It’ll all be over soon. The Solstice will herald the lightening of the nights, that’s always noticeable quite quickly. But for now I appreciate the views of winter: the loch is frozen and my neighbour forgot to take in his boat, now also frozen.
And the field makes me think of chocolate cake dusted with icing sugar…
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