Two days of snow showers borne on cold north westerly winds in the wake of a deep Atlantic low pressure system have turned the landscapes of northern Scotland back to winter. A morning walk in sub zero air was a bracing affair, but at least the wind has dropped. The pre-dawn colour in the sky was delicate rather than blazing, and matched the scene really well.
Trees have become outlines of themselves, the snow frozen hard against trunks and branches.
The sun at this time of year doesn't rise until after 0830 and sets again before 1530, but there's beauty in the short daylight. As the sky in the south east flushed pink, a trace of the shade was projected onto the snowy scene, the most delicate shade in the air.
The moon was still well up as the sun began to rise, but no longer the supermoon of some days ago.
As I turned for home on the last part of my walk, the sun rose above the hills across the Howe of Alford in a brief and brilliant flare of light. Bright it may have been but there's little heat in the sun at these latitudes as we approach the winter solstice - it would stay below freezing for the whole day.
With scenery on a morning walk like this, it's impossible to dismiss winter as dull and dark......