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Back in the Hills


Having been grounded for over 3 months with a torn ACL and medial ligaments (one of those stupid falls that happen when you are not paying attention coming down the mountains) I eventually got fed up and decided to go climbing against 'doctors orders'. I arrived about 6am on Sunday morning (4 Feb 2018) at the Altnafeadh lay-by in Glencoe and set off up the Devil's Staircase, determined to reach the top of Stob Mhic Mhartuin for sunrise. Initially the going was good, but the higher I went the more snow and ice there was underfoot and it slowed me down. I arrived at the top of the Staircase after about 45 minutes and turned left heading for Stob Mhic Mhartuin. The snow in places was knee deep, made even more problematic by the fact there was a hard crust which sometimes supported my weight but at other times I crashed through. Anyway I reached the cairn at the top for 7.30am, with sunrise to arrive at 8.10am. It was a chilly -10 up top. There was a big bank of clouds to the east covering Glencoe and I feared the worse, but the view to the north, towards the Mamore Mountains and the Nevis range looked promising.

The views kept getting better and better and as the sun began the strike the mountain tops it turned the peaks that special pink colour you get in the mountains in winter.

I spent a happy two hours photographing the mountains in the ever changing light, then I realised I couldn't feel my fingers, they were so cold but I hadn't noticed. I then saw over on Beinn a'Chrulaiste, people camping at the Stob in the snow. As I later discovered, it was Greg Knowles and Daniel Hensby, who had made the trip from England to wild camp on a mountain in Glencoe. I also saw a party of photographers moving about on Chrulaiste and as it turned out it was Alex Nail (one of the UK's top landscape photographers) with one of his workshops.

More images.

By 10am the light was turning white, time to pack up and head down. A great day to be back in the hills.


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All Images and Content © John McSporran (2018/19)