Yesterday, I was in the central Highlands, to go walking with a friend. Specifically we were in the area around An Aghaidh Mhòr (Aviemore). We had a great time, the scenery was fantastic, and the weather was almost unbelievable for February.

I'll be posting quite a few photos from the day's adventures.

This first photo is of Loch Mhùrlaig (Loch Morlich), and was taken about 2 minutes after we parked the car. Bright blue skies, no wind, and -2°C temp.

At the western end of the loch there is an outflow (river) called Luineag. It really caught the low-level sunshine in the morning. Around the edges the water was frozen, but the fast flowing parts were ice free.

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At the point where we completed our circuit of the loch there was a lovely sandy beach. Judging from the number of footprints in the sand it was a popular place for people to visit.

Tucked into one corner of the beach was a wooden building, which during the tourist season is a centre for wind-surfer and dinghy hire.

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After finishing our circuit of the loch we made our way to An Lochan Uaine (the little green lake). You'll just have to believe me that the lochan is vividly green when viewed from the eastern side, as I didn't take a photo from this angle.

From there we continued up Rathad nam Mèirleach (The Thieves' road) to the bothy at Ruighe a’ Bhothain (Ryvoan). We were surprised to find 6 people inside the bothy when we looked inside.

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One of the things I loved about this area was the profusion of trees.

In particular, I found the shapes of the Scots Pines (giuthas-Albannach - pinus sylvestris) were endlessly fascinating. Every tree had a unique shape. Some were tall and narrow, others were umbrella shaped, and in-between there was every shape imaginable.

Sad as it was to see dead trees, they still added to the landscape. They remained upright, losing their bark and turning silvery.

@fitheach Nice pictures (the whole thread)! This is my favourite part of Scotland. I also love the Scots pines, so varied in their shapes.

@wim_v12e
It makes such a difference to see an area like this during some fantastic weather. Even more surprising for February.

@fitheach It definitely is, though I like to be there in any weather.

@wim_v12e
I have a similar affinity for Glen Affric. I like seeing it in any weather, particularly in snow, but it is good to have seen it many times in sunny weather.

@Shufei
The sad thing is that these kind of trees live to a different time scale to us. If we were to plant any of these trees we would never see them in their mature state.

The Scots Pines in my photos are probably hundreds of years old already.

@fitheach That just makes the work more glorious, to plant for posterity, to believe in a future and make it happen. I’m just chatting, but serious. I wanna plant 10000 trees in Scotland.

@fitheach
Thanks for sharing these outstanding pictures. Looks like you had a great time. Can't wait for the kids to be old enough to go camping around here.

@alfajet
Aye, it was a great day. I can't stress enough how much difference the weather made, both to the enjoyment of the walk and the look of the photos.

@fitheach The reason we don't raise any at the tree farm is that they absolutely refuse to grow in an orderly fashion, which... sounds kind of familiar actually.

@gemlog
Compared to other conifers they are fairly slow growing, too. Not ideal for any commercial enterprise. As part of a plan to re-generate parts of the Caledonian Forest in Glen Affric, they planted Scots Pines in the 1950s. Most of those trees still look fairly immature.

@fitheach Yes. That's the other thing about them; very slow growing.
Well, I've run myself out of banked time now and we're a long way from break up. I'll have to take on something I suppose.
The other day I did less than one hour's work and got paid 4 times what I make at the tree farm, but...
I like this new working outdoors thing.
No woosh of cooling fans. All you hear are birds and squirrels. And the wing beats of ravens and bald eagles...
-9C just now. Pogey? Nah. IDK...

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