Icicles

Ice; makes a change from gneiss!


It started at the end of January ’21; winter took a different turn and gave us just over two weeks of very dry cold weather.
And although you might be forgiven for thinking that this was mega-sub-zero, the air temperature hadn’t dropped very much extra; locally our nightime minimum was probably about minus eight.
But it did freeze water very quickly: lochs, burns, waterfalls and even the surface of the sea where fresh water had flowed into it.


On January 28th, I looked out of the back door and I could see a small white smudge just below Clashnessie falls, and I guessed what it might be, as I’d seen it before. I’m not one to pass up such an opportunity!


Then various viewers began hallucinating and telling me of all the extra organisms in my photos that I hadn’t noticed. A dog, a dragon, a donkey, witches, old hags….. My coffee obviously wasn’t strong enough!


Sometimes when its icy, our road hasn’t been particularly good, and in the past we’ve stayed at home. This time, it was getting a decent treatment (thank you!), and the air was so dry that the road was just fine. It wasn’t like that inland where snow had fallen and drifted, and several main roads were shut whilst our single track B-road remained open.
Our daily exercise jaunts were, of course, moderated by the current Covid rules; but we still had plenty of freedom to get out and have a good time.


Clashnessie falls is a bit of a gift, being so close. I could see it changing daily. And I noticed that there was ice on both sides, and on the falls too; I’d never seen that before.


We visited Traligill a couple of times, as it remained accessible in the snow that played further inland, and I found a cave with icicles where a deer had been sheltering until I disturbed it.


On the road to Kylesku is the little steep-sided valley leading to the Wailing Widow falls. I didn’t know what to expect here; I didn’t even know whether it would be possible to get the short distance up to the waterfall. There was one set of footprints in front of me, and it would turn out that there would be lots more behind me, after I told others what I’d found.


I took some photos and just stood there gawping. Never seen anything like it; didn’t want to leave! Totally amazing. One of those experiences that stay with you, it was that special.


There’s another waterfall I wanted to visit on the north side of Quinag. I could see a big slab of ice from the road. When I got there, a dipper came out of the tiny bit of liquid water at the bottom; I bet that was struggling to find food right now.

Just down the same burn, very close to the road, there were icicles that were at least ten feet long!


Now, two days later, the weather is mild, wet and windy. The ice is nearly all gone; like it never happened.

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