Countryfile Magazine - - Lazy Days -


Ac­claimed nov­el­ist Christopher Ni­chol­son roams the Cairn­gorms in search of the elu­sive sum­mer snow­fields, whose icy rem­nants en­dure from one win­ter to the next.

Cling­ing on in north-fac­ing clefts and crevices, these ves­ti­gial echoes of the glaciers that shaped this land­scape are as un­pre­dictable as moun­tain weather it­self. Which is pre­cisely why Ni­chol­son’s ex­pe­di­tion of­fers a fris­son of un­cer­tainty: where will the snow ap­pear; what fea­tures will the melt­wa­ter have carved therein; will he even find the crys­talline grail he seeks?

De­fy­ing hu­mid, midge-in­fested bogs, an in­jured foot, ad­vanc­ing years and ex­is­ten­tial angst, Ni­chol­son presses on, pon­der­ing life while scour­ing the coires and bealachs of the High­lands for evanes­cent shards of white, gleam­ing through the sum­mer cloud.

Ni­chol­son’s finely honed ob­ser­va­tional and de­scrip­tive fire­power meld vivid de­pic­tions of the spec­tac­u­lar land­scapes with the con­tours of his con­scious­ness, of­fer­ing oc­ca­sional glints of scin­til­lat­ing clar­ity, as the clouds sud­denly lift from a lofty arête to re­veal a pris­tine snow­field.

His mov­ing jour­ney makes com­pelling read­ing. Oc­ca­sion­ally amus­ing, sel­dom maudlin or self-pity­ing, and ul­ti­mately up­lift­ing, this quest for mean­ing of­fers so­lace for any­one with a pen­chant for pon­der­ing the mys­ter­ies of life, love and loss dur­ing soli­tary wan­der­ings through the wilder­ness. Mark Sut­cliffe, out­doors writer

Year-round snow dusts the peaks of the Grampians

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