Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A steaming "bowl" of Brandy...

Adding layers, in response to a wild mountain wind.
A very special place continues to tempt return visits. Walkhighlands describes Loch Brandy as "a superb example of a mountain corrie, backed by craggy slopes and cradling a perfect loch." It really is perfect. Close to base camp back in Arbroath, its trailhead is next to a 150-year-old former drovers' inn that offers fine post-hike sustenance. The winding path up offers good heart-pumping exercise, expansive views down the glen, and a delightfully peaceful loch. Did I say "peaceful"? Well, perhaps not every single time.

The plan was to traverse the wind-swept moorland above the loch but this time, the gusts were strong enough to blow the now-intrepid hiker into the heather - literally. Arriving at the loch, it had the appearance of a giant "steaming" bowl - complete with rapidly appearing and disappearing miniature rainbows. Tiny tornadoes, with their vertically oriented rotating columns of air, gave "lift" to the boiling waterscape.

Little whirlwinds form above the loch.
The wind seemed to accelerate down the steep slopes and across the surface of Brandy's deep, dark water, whipping up waves and playfully blowing the tops off them.

Waves become airborne.
Updraughts drew water vapour from the loch. The sunlight, threw the fullness of all its colours into the rising mist.

Rainbows formed, vanished, and re-formed.
The wind seemed determined to blow the entire loch into the glen, far below, to join the River South Esk on its journey to the North Sea.

Nothing in the world can cage the wind. Thankfully. All life depends upon the movement and circulation of air. The winds create "weather", moderate climate, disperse pollen and seeds, and give lift and pleasure to all manner of flying creatures. 

Admittedly, we must dress for the wind, for its "chill" will endanger the inadequately clothed. We can seek shelter from it, and sometimes we must. We can avoid it altogether by remaining inside, with windows, shutters, and doors secured and fastened - but that choice would leave us much the poorer.

The wind is immensely exhilarating and invigorating. It freshens, not only the ambient air, but the spirit. To stand facing a wild wind, feet firmly braced, eyes profusely watering, face tingling is to feel...alive.

On this day, a steaming bowl of Brandy, was the absolute perfect "carte du jour" - it more than sustained.

 Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.

- John Muir


  1. Beautiful earth in action! You guys are seeing stuff some folks never get to see in a lifetime.Rainbow in a water devil....thanks for showing me what that looks like!

  2. Thanks for that, Lee. Yes, the earth puts on some amazing shows as you well know. I would say that your explorations have revealed many sublime secrets that reveal themselves only to curious and searching eyes. It's well worth getting to know this planet isn't it. :) Warm wishes. Duncan.

  3. Hi Duncan, superbly captured images of a wild day - just brilliant!

    Kind Regards

  4. It is so wonderful to see the wind dancing on the water beautiful. It really feels very cleansing to be out in the wind...

  5. Hi Ian, thank you for your kind words. I'm sure you've seen the MWIS forecast for today (Dec 5), 120 mph gusts on the Munros. The winds here this morning are more than fierce. We can only hope that all in their path, on land and at sea, will be safe. Take good care. Duncan.

  6. Hi L, it was, indeed, very beautiful but as you can see from the above comment, the wind on this day has transitioned from creating marvellous effects to potentially creating much danger for some. Yet, somehow, the sea birds are still able to fly, over the harbour, in the midst of it. It's humbling. Warm wishes. D.

  7. What is "Visit" going to do when you both leave these shores next week. I for one will miss the adventure and scenery you have both given us all over these last few months.
    See you very soon.
    MG Mike

  8. Well Mike, they're just going to have to try to go it alone until we're back. :)) Yes, see you in a couple of days. Duncan.