I’ve always been fascinated by the layers of landscape that gradually reveal themselves as I climb higher on any ascent. Mountain days, no matter how short, always offer thought-provoking views, provided, that is, the cloud base co-operates and remains above the summits. And even in poor visibility, the altered, narrowed perspective can fire the imagination. Fitting the jigsaw puzzle pieces of the views from other mountains together is one of the rewards of visiting any hill, no matter what its height or situation. What lies over that hill or fold in the landscape? Where does that ridge lead? What route would I take from here to there? What would I see from there? I was over there six weeks ago…. I would have seen that feature from the other side….
Recent days included a wander up Morven (871m) and a short, but fast ascent of Geallaig Hill (743m) from Braenaloin (both are hills near Ballater). Morven offered us stunning views of the surrounding springlike countryside, but the sunshine was deceptive: it was cold on the summit and most of my winter layers were required. Geallaig, a week later, proved to be equally as chilly, especially as the encroaching cold front complete with cloud and snow showers moved in to envelope the hill. The rapid change in conditions served to remind us just how raw the weather can still be in April. But the views (before we lost them) across to Deeside and Lochnagar beyond were superb.