Thursday, 18 February 2010
Prints of Darkness
I was out lamping for foxes on Tuesday night. On impulse, I grabbed the portable (if you're a weightlifter) unit and went for a walk along a ponypath that follows the floor of an otherwise inaccessible glen.
I had barely left the landrover before a few flakes of snow started to float down. Unconcerned, I continued on my way. Ten minutes later and it was a whiteout.
I knew from the signs that I had seen whilst out stalking that there was an area that a fox was favouring so I decided to glory on in the hope that the snow would let up.
I walked for the best part of half an hour to reach that area. Every couple of hundred yards I would stop and have a shine about with the spotlight. And each time all I would see was snow.
When I eventually got to my destination I had the choice of hanging about waiting for it to clear or to start heading back. I headed back.
I was surprised to see how quickly my footprints were getting covered over and, by the light of my headtorch, it became quite difficult to distiguish the ponypath from the myriad of sheeptracks which also criss-cross the glen floor. There never was any worry as the worst-case scenario was that I'd have to follow the burn (stream) side back to the landrover but I was hacked off at wasting my time and effort this way.
To cut a long traipse short, I eventually arrived back at the motor- just in time to see the last few flakes drift down. A couple of minutes later and the stars were out.
It turned out to be a beautiful night, albeit unproductive but what made it really exceptional is that there wasn't a breath of wind. It must have stayed like that right through til morning because- as you'll hopefully see from the pics- everything was covered with an inch of finely-balanced snow. Breathtaking!