The Scottish Highlands and Glen Affric - Winter at Easter!

After our last visit to the Scottish Highlands in December, and having some true winter wonderland experiences, it wasn't expected that during a visit over the Easter period (early April) snow would still be on the agenda during our week stay near Nairn.

We arrived on the day of the full moon (first photo below), and on a few days woke up to fresh overnight snow, as well as experiencing a very clear night one evening (third photo)!

I always follow the weather closely, particularly when visiting Scotland, wanting to maximise the photo opportunities. This trip was no different and after a 3.00am rise on the Saturday for the 10-12 hour car journey north, I realised from the forecast that the following morning was going to be clear and maybe the only chance for a good morning photoshoot during the week ahead. I therefore was up again early at 4.15am, and headed off to Loch Maree in the dark (see also my earlier blog from the winter visit).

The view on the journey when passing Loch a' Chroisg, looking back towards the east was stunning in the stillness at first light of day.

Arriving at Loch Maree, the moon was starting to set behind the Beinn Eighe snow capped mountains providing a beautiful view.

I was hoping for some good reflections at Loch Maree, but it was not to be on this occasion. These photos are taken from the same spot during my December visit. The sun rising further north than the winter months and so changing the light conditions.

The return journey provided some great views back towards Loch Maree, and the surrounding mountainscape.

However the cherry on the cake of this visit came as I passed Loch a' Chroisg again where the air was totally still and displayed the Highlands landscape in all its beauty!

The weather turned after the weekend, with snowfall over the next few days, bringing some drastic changes to the surrounding landscape.

This was most dramatically seen during a road trip down the south side of Loch Ness and via Fort William to Newtonmore.

During the week, the weather forecast predicted that Thursday would to be the best day for sunlight, and so when the day arrived I headed off early to Glen Affric, my favourite Highlands spot! 

It was another still morning, and true to tradition I was able to pick up a few reflection photos on the way up the glen.

The plan for this day, was to hike the Loch Affric circuit, around 11 miles in distance. A straight forward route, but providing super views around the glen. The weather couldn't make its mind up with a mixture of chilling wind, snow, then plenty of sunshine on the return section.

I took the opportunity to rest the feet when I reached the further point of the route, as well as having some snacks and hot drink. On the return route down the glen, the view back to where I had stopped was stunning.

At one point I was really struck by the majesty of the mountains round about and reminded me of some lyrics of a song speaking of Almighty God:

Your steadfast love extends to the heavens
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds
Your righteousness is like majestic mountains
And your wisdom like the depths of the sea

A stream nestled in the mountainside made it's way down to River Affric with some pretty waterfalls along the route back (last two photos above).

By the time I made it back to the car my feet felt totally punished! A strong indicator of needing some new socks before my next adventure in the Highlands during the summer. I still stopped off at some waterfalls on the car drive down the glen on the route back - rounding off the trip nicely.