ISPENT a few days in Torridon, in Scotland’s stunning north-west, recently. I was there to climb some old Munros and some new Corbetts – old and new to me at least – but it was really just an excuse to spend time in one of my favourite parts of the country.
The rock in Torridon is among the most ancient on the planet, counted in billions of years. The mountains – jagged remnants of a land scoured time and again by immense ice-sheets – rear up from sea-level. They’re great, solitary giants that tower over the surrounding land.
Torridon is certainly a dramatic landscape, without parallel in the UK. It feels primeval – and spending time there restores a sense of perspective.
The photo above was taken while climbing the Munro Maol-chean Dearg. Afterwards we climbed the Corbett An Ruadh-stac, which is just about visible on the left. We were quite lucky with the weather during the entire trip – it was “changeable”, which is pretty much normal for Scotland, but we got some fantastic views.
It was, however, very different from the conditions we’d enjoyed four months previously. I reckon this year had pretty much the best summer I can remember – the long, hot, dry days just went on and on. It felt sometimes as if they’d never end.
But of course, end they must. And it was in Torridon that I first felt a hint of change – there was a coolness in the breeze, the nights were just that wee bit chillier. Autumn was surely on the way.
For me, autumn is a time of reflection – and while I’ll miss those endless days of a perfect summer, I’ll look forward to the snows of winter and the mountain adventures they bring.
Autumn is the season occupying the wonderful mind of wildlife writer Jim Crumley in this issue of your favourite magazine. In his column, starting on page 50, Jim writes of the incredible seasonal migrations undertaken by some of our most familiar creatures – swans that fly as high as jetliners and tiny terns that journey to Antarctica and back. They’re startling feats – utterly mind-blowing, as Jim himself says.