Red Deer on the Slopes of Creag Feusag
The light was fading on a sharp and sunny winter day. Heading away from the main road at Cannich we follow the racing and swirling River Cannich. Golden light filters through the trees, reflecting in the still pools that have formed over centuries of meandering water flowing through the narrow valley.
Golden eyes sit calm on the surface, soaking up the last few minutes of warmth before night descends. The trees on the sunlit side of the valley reflect in the calm and midnight black still surface of the pools.
As we head further up the valley the mountains climb around us. The road follows Loch Carrie before reaching the low built houses at Liatrie and then heading onwards towards Loch Sealbhanach. Protected in the lea of tall trees the houses are isolated. Small against the towering hillsides that lead from the sky to the loch.
Eventually we reach the man made end to Glen Cannich. The dominating dam on the eastern end of Loch Mullardoch looms before us. Casting shadow on the smaller Loch à Bhàna far below its upper edge this is a harsh and jolting barrier. Beyond, the sun reflects off the snow coated summits of Mullach na Maoile and Sgurr na Lapaich, tumbling in a rugged magnificence to the clear blue waters of Loch Mullardoch.
The glen is narrow here, the rock faces sheer with snow clinging to the black granite that towers over the road. Glowing in a warm burnt orange in the afternoon sunlight, the dried autumn bracken forms the perfect protection for the red deer that call this landscape their home.
Wild but cared for the deer are dotted along this long valley. Some bold, coming to the feeders near the road. Others more timid, hanging back high on the hillside. Just the tips of antlers visible beyond boulders.
Cars do not worry them. Staying in the car and using it as our hide is the only way to stop these timid creatures from bolting. An easy compromise to accept and work around.
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