Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Nostalgia

Best New Year I ever had? There's been a few memorable ones over the years. In a wee bothy in the Monadhliath, deep in snow, was special. But the one I was thinking of recently was 1982 into 1983, celebrated somewhere in the Himalayan foothills as we trekked across Nepal, from the Indian border to the Everest region. I reminisced about this a couple of years ago, see here.

I came across some on my own 35mm slides of the trip recently, and scanning these brought back a lot of memories. The locals we met were just wonderful and so friendly and welcoming...

... even if not everyone we met seemed willing to let us pass!

It's funny to look at photos of myself, complete with hair and beard! How quickly the intervening years have gone by.

I took this of Everest from the top of Kala Pattar. That was a hard day, but remains a 'best memory'!

I was not much into photography back then but I did try my best with a small Olympus compact camera that I had with me on the trek. I remember taking this early one morning, Ama Dablam just catching the early morning light!

And that got me thinking. With the weather forecast so good for yesterday, December 28, why not go see the sun rising on a Scottish mountain!

So I made an early start from Skip and I was beside Loch Long on a cold, frosty Sunday morning!

Seen from across the loch, the Cobbler was getting the first rays, and looking quite majestic.

Surprise of the day was to find this cafe open early on a Sunday morning, serving the best bacon roll I've tasted this year! Five stars.

This was what I had been hoping for, to catch the pink glow.

It being early, and suitably fortified by that bacon roll, I thought to bring back a few memories and walk a bit up the path. I took it slowly ... it's been a long time ....

... but well worth persevering, following the path beside the Allt a Bhalachaim!

I had my second breakfast at this point. Could not stop taking photos, and feeling so blessed to be there, halfway up a mountain! All thanks of course to Dr McMahon and staff at the Rheumatology Department in Dumfries for giving me my life back.

What was interesting was the people I met along the way. In no hurry myself, I chatted to many of them. One chap with his two collies, complete with LED collars and reflective jackets, had been up high to see the sunrise. Many well equipped walkers were headed in to Beinn Ime and one even to Ben Vane. A few serious climbers were intent on tackling some of the winter routes on the Cobbler itself. There were families with their dogs, three mountain bikers, one fell runner. Some like me, were looking to go no further than the Narnain Boulders. I met a couple of 'serious' photographers. And two couples from England, spending their Christmas break in Scotland. And all just rejoicing to be out on a perfect winter's day with such a blue sky, not a cloud in sight.

It was a day I will remember for a long time!

All photos © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter 2014

Winter took a while to arrive this year. But last weekend there was snow on the hills above Annandale.

When the sky is blue it's a delight to be out and about!

But on most winter walks, grey skies are the norm! It is nice to encounter a well maintained hedge.

So much for the well maintained hedges - there must be a hole in the fence somewhere.

My favourite tree has seen a fair number of winters!

There has been lots of work going on recently, improving the drainage alongside the West Coast Main Line. Quite a community here for the past weeks, and work goes on into the nights.

 This tunnel under the line probably dates from when it was built in the nineteenth century.

A Merry Christmas to everyone!

Photos © Skip Cottage