Song for Slioch

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Slioch.

One of the most spectacular peaks in the NW Highlands, its soaring slopes, rising from the shore of Loch Maree are featured in countless calendars, magazines, videos and travel brochures.

I gaze out through my kitchen window towards the east and there it is, in the distance, a constant presence. A sentinel, if you like, standing guard and surveying the heather-clad bog and moorland and semi-lunar landscape of knobbly outcrops of Lewisian gneiss which lie between us.

I still pinch myself, that I have a view of such a magnifient mountain from my home.

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A previous post focused on the copse of ancient Caledonian pine by the rocky knoll at the Bridge of Grudie, where you get the most direct and dramatic views of it, from across Loch Maree.

Those ancient pine follow the River Grudie down to where it meets the shore of Loch Maree, below, and cling to the meandering river all the way up the enchanted Glen Grudie. (Another previous post here)

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Beinn a Mhuinidh and Loch Maree

Above, the rugged and beautiful Beinn a Mhuinidh, with its spectacular waterfalls, usually bypassed by climbers on their way to the base of Slioch, from Kinlochewe.

At the Kinlochewe end of Loch Maree, the distinctive, spiky summit of the great Beinn Eighe is a towering presence, off to the west (below).

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As I drove through the glen on my way back from Achnasheen, I could see that the heavy showers which had preceded me had freshly washed and quenched the hillside, leaving colours as intensely vivid as watercolour paint still wet on the paper.
I watched a constant, pulsing drama of transformation, during which I was sure I could sense the heartbeat of the hill.

It was mesmerizing to watch the play of light as the clouds moved across the sky, their shadows moving, no, dancing across the multi-coloured slopes – one moment highlighting, the next obscuring the contours and undulations, textures and colours.

 

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