I went for a Caledonian Pinewood quest in late November. It was crisp and chilly, but as often the case in these wilder woods, a sense of warmth emanated from the lilac orange trunks of the old pine trees. Memories of warm resinous heady smells of summer. It was my third adventure in the Glen Derry/ Glen Luibeg in the past year, I have found the pine woods - tucked away behind a fold in the glen - to be a magnet, the sense of quiet stillness and wild beauty addictive, often I hear the faint calling of this place whispering softly on the cold north wind. The path was VERY slippery with melted and re frozen ice so I took that as a sign to do what I like best in these woods- to get off the path and wander around, looking for that illusive goddess - Inspiration - in her robes woven of archaic pine wisdom, soft snow capped looming mountains and an amazing golden adn deep blue winter light. I came across a few black grouse and before I scared them by clumsily photographing them at great distance, they scratched around the pine needles, it was beautiful and reminded me of my impermanence there...Their life in those hills. On this occasion I wanted to pursue the route through Glen Lui to the start of the ascent of Ben Macdui, I didn't have the time or the light for a mountain ascent. However I am often caught with a fulfilled sense of achievement just looking at the woods and feeling the nowness of it all, many moments of insight found up and out there. I was struck by the number of pine snags (dead gray wood often simplified by branches which have fallen), each snag was twisted like a cork screw, the trees spiraling growth seems like an energy cord frozen in time and now decaying back into the heather clad moory mountainside. A lot of regeneration has been taking place in the area which is great and these young trees lighten my somber thoughts on the old snags. Those piney witchy hags wands pointing and the yawning at the abyss like old wintery fingers. Great sunsets and solitary darkness descended on my return to the road home.