A couple of days ago we slid up the street in the morning dark and caught a bus to the outskirts of town where some friends were gathering to drive out to the mountains.
A heavy frost had grown during the night and all the roofs and branches and fields that we passed were a rich, glistening white. A few snowflakes were falling as we neared our destination, but if you wanted enough snow to lose a leg in, it was necessary to climb up into the mountains.
And so we climbed.
It was a calm day, and we listened to grouse sounds and the little streams and burns that rushed by through the snow.
Some of the burns had frozen enough that we could walk over them, at least mostly. Others could only be crossed by balancing on slippery rocks, or, for the very brave, taking off shoes and socks and walking through.
I took my chances with the slippery rocks, as my throat was already burning with the beginnings of a nasty cold.
Wandering up in the mountains, the light slides around in the strangest ways.
Off in the distance, landscapes appear through a pocket of clouds, all coloured in the bright aqua blue of ice and glaciers, while just beyond that, the light appears inexplicably brownish or reddish. Though, these mysterious pockets of colour don't always come through in photos.
The exposure in the above photograph brings the moody atmosphere of mountain light to a whole new level, but it is rather lovely, I think.
We followed a stream down toward the little loch that you can just glimpse in these photos.
As it descended, the stream became a waterfall. On a little rocky shelf beside the falls we stopped and opened our packs to have some hot tea, and a surprise of homemade gingerbread.
Only a few minutes after our sunny tea break, the sky began to blush faintly pink. The light changes so quickly on these short winter days.
By the time we had reached the ground, the blue of evening was setting in.
And the day burnt itself out across the sky. The walk finished in cold, blue darkness, the snow on the mountains glowing as it hung in the dark between the sky and the depths of the valley.
I love the little pause that comes at the end of the year, once the vigour of Christmas has passed. I hope you are enjoying the warmth of the holiday season and also some peace and stillness on the these long nights. Wishing you a happy 2015!