Country diary: winter is slow to leave the high ground

Cairn Gorm, Highlands: Ptarmigan waddle determinedly between pockets of snow and rocks feathered with frost

As we followed the remains of the old ski lift into the hills, the wind whipped at my hair and dragged at my clothes, pulling the breath from my lungs and filling me with a peculiar light feeling. The hills were smooth and sculptural: the burnt umber of heather as a base coat, then leopard-spotted and marbled by layers of heavy, wet snow.

Hoping to practise our “winter skills”, we were over-dressed for the occasion, bearing ice axes and crampons. Counting our steps, we took a circuitous path to the top, tacking between the deepest snow patches, leaving them pocked and printed in our wake.

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Source: The Guardian
Country diary: winter is slow to leave the high ground