Skip to Content
22 Feb 2024

Field Notes: Beauty in the brown

Quinag Conservation Officer Kat Martin heads to her favourite wild place to hunt for colourful signs that spring is returning.

Quinag colour 3 - Kat Martin

On a patchy-weather mid-February day, I head out to Quinag with my camera. It’s that time of year where hints of spring nudge gently at the periphery, while winter struggles to relinquish its hold despite our increasing longing to fare thee well!

Change is in the air - the birds and buds can sense it - and it brings restless excitement, mixed with knowing that we still have unpredictable March to soon reacquaint ourselves with. The battle for spring isn’t quite won yet.

At this time of year, with a growing impatience for the promise ahead, it’s easy to look out on the landscape and dismiss it as brown. Different shades and hues perhaps, but brown all the same. I decide to challenge that assumption - albeit it with no disrespect intended to a colour that offers contrast and warmth within its repertoire, but acknowledging its late winter association with “lifeless”, “dull” and “please spring, explode everything into fresh, delicious, greens”.

Quinag colour 2 - Kat Martin

As I head onto the main trail and look up to where Sail Gharbh would normally stand tall, a pastel rainbow arcs across low hung-clouds that consume the summit. They are suddenly illuminated by the midday sun fully breaking through. All that the light touches transforms to gold. I could admit victory now; not only have I immediately secured seven colours under my belt, but the landscape is literally glowing, and right in this moment brown feels too plain a descriptor (again, sorry brown!).

I could admit victory, but I don’t. I didn’t bring out my camera for nothing, and I’m keen to delve closer into the intricate details of the mountain habitat. I let my feet lead me to one of my favourite locations, pausing as I go and sprawling out on hands and knees for a closer look. It takes a little while to settle in, but once my eyes attune, all sorts of wonderful patterns and colours and creatures are suddenly there to appreciate. Aliveness in the brown. Beauty in the brown.

Quinag colour 1 - Kat Martin

  • Find out more about our work at Quinag.
Purple mosses - David Lintern

Join us

Because everyone deserves to connect with wild places

Become a Member