Primeval Peaks

The Scots Magazine - - Welcome To... - ROBERT WIGHT, Edi­tor mail@scots­

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.


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