Donald Ford Images - Scotland's golf and landscape photographer

Fantastic skies.......

The media – particularly the main television channels – was recently bursting to show a fascinating collection of images of the aurora borealis ( Northern Lights to most of us ) submitted by viewers. The latter had been lucky enough - and, let’s be honest, courageous enough as well – to forsake their beds in the middle of a cold October night, find a vantage point with little or no interference from street or other urban lights and, with great skill, capture the rare sight of this natural phenomenon on camera, mobile phone or iPad. It all made for fascinating viewing.

One side effect of this dramatic night-time meteorological and solar interaction that was not given any headline treatment, however, was the astonishing display of high cirrus cloud the following day ( cirrus uncinus is its Latin title; it translates as ‘curly hooks’, though we know it better as ‘mare’s tail’). I was fortunate to be photographing at Gleneagles that morning as it reached its magnificent best against a spectacular blue sky. One example of its extraordinary presence over a two-hour “air display” is displayed here ( the thirteenth green ), while another is shown on the home page in a shot towards the twelfth green ( both on the PGA course ).......it really was a spectacular show. On the downside, the appearance of this VERY high natural cloud system generally indicates that an occluded front (a cold front overtaking a warm front) is in the offing and, in the foreseeable future, rain will be on the way. It duly arrived later that evening.

After a great deal of atrocious weather this summer, I suppose that we should temper our annoyance at the repeated upset or distress that it has caused by acknowledging, once again, the uniqueness of the Scottish weather which allows us to enjoy even fleeting intervals of astonishing beauty like this.

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