Ardtornish Day 11

The alarm chimed-up at 6.30am rousing me from a really deep sleep. The first thing I noticed was the marked drop in temperature in the room, a lot colder than previous mornings. It was drizzling outside and it was oh so difficult to unzip the sleeping bag and extricate myself from my toasty cocoon. The room was pitch black and the floorboards under my bare feet were cold and dank. I fumbled with the gas lamp that sparked bright with a solid ‘pop!’ and, as I bent over to locate my boots, Charlie came over and stuck a cold nose in a verySkipper Chris was returning to pick us up at ten meaning I had plenty of time to go and shoot the dawn before having to come back and help Al finish off packing the gear.

The tide was just on the turn from its height, so I spent an hour or so on the shoreline getting some nice moody shots using an ND hard grad filter to hold the sky while ‘painting’ the foreground with light from my diving lamp – a very handy bit of kit in that it’s totally waterproof so I can place it in rock pools etc. to light them. I worked away and, as the light increased, so I was really pleased to see the mountains over on Mull had received an icy dusting of snow overnight. Hopefully this would be a little taste of things to come.

The RIB return trips were much rougher on the way back. The wind had picked up and the Sound of Mull was quite choppy, especially at the mouth of Loch Aline where a tide race churned the water into swirling, eddying pools. Chris waited to choose the right moment to surge ahead and bring his boat expertly up to the jetty. And with a coil of rope tied to a mooring ring, that was it, the Inninmore leg of the Winter Highland trip was done.

Our planning and preparations had all worked well and Allen and I had had an experience and seen things we’d never forget. “I’d like to think we’ll be back there at some time” he said looking into the middle distance, “that was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever stayed at.” I gave my good friend a pat on the back and we climbed in the car and set off back to the bunk-house.

Our day wasn’t done yet as we had to set about airing the gear, doing washing, cooking dinner, then I started downloading images, updating my blogs and posting new images to the Highland Winter gallery. With all that done, I hit the shower and then chilled-out with a few glasses of red while surfing the net to find some replacement gear for a few things I had lost up in the hills. I ordered a new eyecup for my EOS 1 after knocking it off I know not where, and looked into having my Giottos tripod fixed as one of the extension rods somehow fell out and was lost. I have to say I’m not a great lover of this expensive tripod. The plastic constriction screws, that secure the leg extensions, invariably need frequent re-tightening in cold weather and I find this is really annoying.

With this done I checked the weather forecasts and saw the words ‘Rain falling as snow on high ground’ and I went to bed with my fingers crossed.