Published 13th December 2019, 20:49

    THE final full moon of the year is with us tomorrow, and it feels somewhat appropriate for the culmination of this latest round of political mayhem that it's the Cold Moon.

    Whatever the result of the general election, no matter where you have marked your X in this X-certificate show, there's an overwhelming fear that we will continue to face a massive social chill for a long time to come.

    It hardly seems a year since I stood atop Ben Hope, the frozen slopes and trig point briefly illuminated by this moon, a fitting finale to the Mountains of the Moon project.

    Mission accomplished: I had wanted to finish 2018 on hope. One year on, we find ourselves still living in hope rather than expectation. Still, there's always a refuge in the mountains. It's definitely better than hiding out in your fridge.

    A large part of the joy of that lunar year was linking the names of the moons with suitable Munros. These were based on the moon names we have inherited from the Algonquian tribes of North America. 

    It's not an experience I plan to revisit, but there are so many alternatives, so many tantalising options from other cultures, that it is difficult to ignore completely.

    Many of the native American tribes had some variations on the Algonquian names, while in the southern hemisphere, many of the familiar names referred to different months. The Chinese names are fascinatingly flamboyant, as are those from New Guinea.

    The most relevant alternatives for Scotland are the Celtic ones. They, too, had their Harvest Moon, but this was October rather than September. The only one that matched was the Cold Moon. No surprise – it seems everyone was in agreement that December up here is freezing.

    Here is the full list of Celtic full moon names, with their possible Munro match-ups (Algonquian options in brackets):

    JANUARY – Quiet Moon (Wolf Moon): In complete contrast to hearing the howling of wolves, it appears there was a silence across the land in these parts so Mount Keen, which originates from the Gaelic monadh caoin, meaning gentle hill, would appear to fit the bill.

    FEBRUARY – Moon of Ice (Snow Moon): Loch Etchachan, high in the heart of the Cairngorms, is often frozen for months, so any of the Munros surrounding it would be fine. The views down from Beinn Mheadhoin, however, make it my choice.

    MARCH – Moon of Winds (Worm Moon): Again, when it comes to extreme winds, the Cairngorms take some beating, but Sgor Gaoith is the named windy peak here.

    APRIL – Growing Moon (Pink Moon): There are a few Munros with links to flowers and plants, but coming at it in a different way, Luinne Bheinn in Knoydart is the hill of the swelling.

    MAY – Bright Moon (Flower Moon): Surprisingly, there are no bright hills, so we need to go for light, Stob Ban, in the Grey Corries or Fisherfield.

    JUNE – Moon of Horses (Strawberry Moon): There are a couple of Munros with references to horses, so either Sgurr nan Each in the Fannaichs or A' Mharconaich at Drumochter would do. 

    JULY – Moon of Calming (Buck Moon): Not so sure July is known for calm weather these days, it's usually more like monsoon season, but the delightful hill of Beinn Eibhinn would appear to provide a match.

    AUGUST – Dispute Moon (Sturgeon Moon): A few choices here. Stob Choire Claurigh is the peak of brawling or clamouring, but it would feel more expansive to head for the Black Cuillin of Skye and go with Sgurr a' Ghreadaidh, the peak of torment or conflict.

    SEPTEMBER – Singing Moon (Harvest Moon): Having options east and west is always wise to allow for weather problems, so the distant Carn an Fhidhleir, the hill of the fiddler, or Meall na Teanga at Loch Lochy, hill of the tongue, would suffice.

    OCTOBER – Harvest Moon (Hunter's Moon): A visit to Glen Shiel and the peak of the hound keepers, Sgurr nan Conbhairean, would provide a perfect moonlight circuit.

    NOVEMBER – Dark Moon (Beaver Moon): Darkness is the key, so either Beinn Dubhchraig, hill of the black crag, or Ciste Dhubh, the black chest, with its imposing dark face, would fit the bill. 

    DECEMBER – Cold Moon (Cold Moon): One of the Strathfarrar four, Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, is the peak of the cold hollow, although the time restraints in doing this circuit on a black, freezing December night would probably be too much for most.

    I repeat, I have no intention of ever doing this, but I hope it gives some of you some food for thought. It may be the perfect antidote to the potential horror show of Friday 13th.