The Scottish winds blew snowflakes around our faces as we stepped out of our car in Glen Affric. The days before Christmas were steadily declining, and my family and I had stopped to admire the gorgeous winter scenery in the nature reserve. The air was as still as a frozen lake, and frost flower clung to the rocks and shrubs that lined the road. Endless, undisturbed woodlands stretched as far as the eyes could see, and the dancing snow made the trip all the more magical. Sturdy pines grew tall and sheltering in the cloudy silence, and their needles whispered secrets to the falling snow.
Gnarled old oaks and leafy ferns filled the gap between the bristling pines. All was still, even the hum of our car’s engine had died down and the cold air had invaded the space by the exhaust. We stared into the trees, hunting for squirrels or hawks with our eyes, not daring to make a sound, until a rustle caught my mums attention, and she lifted one arm as she stuttered ‘D…d…dur…deer!’. And there they stood, three lonely stags, one bronze, one silver and one gold, a trio of wise woodland spirits. The golden stage had the largest antlers, which were tainted with green and draped with shrubbery.
He took a small step forward, and blew a cloud of air from his velvet nose. The silver was smaller, but the oldest, and held his head high with the manner of an ancient Celtic chief. He stayed put, half hidden behind a twisted pine, with a wary look in his grey-rimmed eyes. The bronze stag was small and spritely, with doleful eyes which melted your soul. We could tell from here that he wanted to come closer, to look at the four of us and our strange contraption called a car, and only held back because of his fellow’s caution. We stood, staring back at the three majestic animals as the Scottish winds blew snowflakes in our faces on the silent slopes of Glen Affric.