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The weather had been very confused lately. There had been an enormous amount of rain, sometimes with ice or slushy sleet mixed in with it, hurtling down out of black skies and covering everything with grey sheets of water – or snow on the higher peaks. But there had also been some beautifully bright, sunny intervals. At times the sky had been totally overcast and forbidding, but at other times it cleared, and an orderly line of white and pale grey clouds scurried hastily across a sea of blue in a neat procession from the north-west.

Algy knew that, in the West Highlands, the best autumn colours were always seen when the sun came out soon after it had rained, so, when the paler clouds came scurrying again, he flew up to a spot where he could admire the effect. On a dry day, the fading moorland grasses looked lifeless and dull, even when the autumn sun was bright, but if they were thoroughly wet when the sun came out, they lit up in a wonderful range of colours which covered the landscape in glowing carpet of orange and red and golden-brown.

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