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Ardtornish Day 17

OK, so there I lay in my sleeping bag, willing-on the snow clouds. I’d been out a few times in the night to check but all I witnessed was an all-consuming, pitch-black darkness. There was cloud cover for sure because I couldn’t see the stars, but it was so cold that I could not get my hopes raised too high. I waited for the half-light before looking out, expecting to see snow drifts touching the window frames and polar bears wandering on the glacier that had come down from the mountain. Unfortunately, my expectations were dashed.

Talking of the cold, 'Fireman Al' almost wet himself when he saw the size of the wood-burner stove that takes up a large portion of the Crosben’s living room. No sooner had he got through the door, than he had the beast blazing away. Imagine having a hot Sherman tank in the middle of your lounge and you’re getting close to the size of this sucker! When we arrived the cottage was freezing cold with ice on the inside of the windows. On checking the thermometer, it read 0°C. I went out to shoot the twilight and came back a two hours later to walk into a wall of heat!

As I write this, the mercury is nudging a more than balmy 31°C and I’m thawing rapidly, for we spent a day up on the mountains. With no snow down here in the glen, I decided that we’d go up the summit of the mountain towering over Crosben.

It was a fantastic experience. Taking deer tracks over frozen ground we made good progress on the first part of the ascent to the snow line. Here we reorganised our clothing (and put Charlie’s thermal coat on for the first time) and set off for the top. As we climbed, so the wind became fiercer and fiercer. On placing a boot, it would whip up disturbed ice crystals and send them in a blinding shower into every nook and cranny that was not wrapped-up. It was however a brilliant day out and I’m hoping the shots I took will come out OK. Even with increased ISO settings, it was a devil to keep the camera still while shooting in such a battering gale and to ask Allen to come and stand as a windbreak in such conditions would be pushing things a tad I fear. Bless him he is an absolute star! There was no Mr. Grumpy, not even when taking the wind-chill into account that would have seen temperatures way below -15° and I spotted another shooting opportunity. Although Charlie was looking at us in a way that suggested he was not going to be joining a mountain rescue team any time soon.

After coming off the mountain, we headed back to Crosben and as I rustled up hot soup, Allen threw another tree on the ‘tank’. Doffing his boots, he got his book out and sat down in such a way as to announce to announce an afternoon’s hibernation for him and Charlie. And I didn’t blame him.

I decided to walk across the glen to the winding river that cuts through it and get some twilight shots. I love it when the sun drops behind the horizon as the much-reduced light levels allow me to play with long exposures that help capture the atmosphere of the scene in front of the camera. I find fill-in flash helps to maintain foreground interest.

And so that was it for the day. As I walked back to the bothy I noted the purple-bruised Cumulous clouds mustering off to the east and ‘whistled and wished’ for them to come our way for tomorrow.