Ardtornish Day 4

So with our first night up in the mountains behind us I’m pleased to report that all is well and good. After cooking a big spaghetti Bolognese we chilled out, Al reading, Charlie snoring, while I down-loaded the day’s images and had a quick scan through. The night was uneventful, 100% cloud cover meant there was no chance of any starry sky shots so after getting some exterior images of Al and Charlie by the fireside, I got the sleeping bag out and turned-in at 9 o’clock.

Fireman Al - for that is now his tribal name - turns out to be a dab-hand with making a fire. In his hands even the wettest logs are ablaze within minutes (although Charlie is not at all sure about the cracks and pops they emit). Al made-up the fire to last well into the night and so this and a five-season sleeping bag kept me warm and toasty even though the condensation and damp was dripping from the bothy walls. A good night’s kip meant I awoke this morning refreshed and ready for the new day. Yet as it turned out the dawn was not ready for my cameras. It remained veiled behind dense, low cloud that obscured the surrounding mountains and delivered howling wind and driving rain to keep me pinned down in the bothy until well after breakfast.

The wet weather cleared for a while but the strong wind picked-up and blew like a proverbial ‘dock-side lady of the night’. While Al went back down the mountain to pick up more firewood and some supplies, I put my wet weather gear on and set off around Loch Tearnait. The wind was a demon and even hanging my rucksack on the tripod’s hook did not stop it buffeting the camera and shaking my first images. So when challenges arrive you have to adapt and improvise. So I made for the ruins of a cottage down on the shoreline to find some shelter. There I found lichen and verdant mosses covering the otherwise bare grey granite stones that had been rounded off by years of weathering. Yet with the help of my trusty old fishing umbrella, I managed to keep the elements away long enough to use my Big Stopper filter to get some nice long exposure shots that I look forward to working on when I get back to the bunk-house.

As soon as the weather had lifted, so it closed in again and in a ‘sod’s law’ moment my filter pouch dropped smack into a puddle, thus setting me hot-footing it back to the bothy to dry them out.

And that looks very much to be the story of day 4. I sit writing this as the roof is battered by wind and lashing rain. So as the wet weather gear dries off by the fireside I’m going to start preparing a chicken curry for supper.