In pictures: Heather blaze display in rural snow
The wild plant is kept young and tidy by controlled burning or ‘swiping’ carried out between September and April every year.
Moor keepers, like this man on the Invercauld Estate near Braemar, usually wait until the heather is dry and the peat is wet before burning, but with snow continuing to lie on the ground he brought the elements together.
The heather roots are left undamaged by the burning but the process ‘shocks’ the heather seed lying in the ground into growing again quickly producing a fresh, bright batch in spring.
The burning plays an important role in the rural economy, bringing birds together to feed on newly cropped areas, sustaining the grouse shooting season.