Author Topic: This is for David Paterson  (Read 351 times)

simato73

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This is for David Paterson
« on: March 17, 2017, 22:19:32 »
David, this is for you!

While David does not need explanations, for the benefit of the others: these are photos from Knoydart, a remote Scottish peninsula than can be reached by boat from Mallaig (no roads).
Some people went to Mallaig with me in May last year during the NG trip.
Simone Tomasi

David Paterson

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 00:03:31 »
Thanks, Simone.  How redolent these are of the Scottish mountains in a failed winter - something which was not unknown even in my own climbing days, a century or so ago. The squelch of boots in ankle-deep mud, the drumming of the rain on your hood and backpack, the smell of over-heated rain-gear, the miserable food-stops - it's all there in your pictures, not as visible entities but certainly in spirit. I remember it only too well.

But #5 is a fine piece of work which I think would stand up well to some more vigorous post; the same is true of #6, with its essential boulder and sprig at the base of the shot.

I'm amazed at the lack of snow. Our hills here had much more snow than that over last weekend, and still do, after a week of mainly thawing conditions. Again, the contrast with my own climbing days is very telling (all global-warming deniers, please read on). I came home to Scotland after my first trip to Japan, in April 1975 and celebrated by setting off on the 1st of May to do a solo round of all the 4000-foot tops in the Cairngorms. Skiing was in full swing as I took an early chairlift up to the top station, from where it is an easy 30-40 minute walk to the summit of Cairngorm itself. From there the plateau spreads out massively east and south. I might have been in the high Arctic, not Scotland - unbroken snowfields reached to the horizon in three directions; cover was deep and total; short cliffs and crags were banked right up by snowdrifts; lochs could identified only because the covering snow was dead level like the ice it rested on; in the three days I spent up there, I never saw liquid water. And this was May, not March, not even April. On another occasion I was in Aviemore when it and Braemar recorded -27degC, and on yet another trip I was in Aviemore again, in early June, to do some hill-walking with a friend. We stayed in a b&B and in the morning found that 6" (15cm) of snow had fallen. Most roads were closed, and the bottom station of the chairlift was reporting a fall of 18" (45 cm). These things just do not happen now.

simato73

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 09:33:40 »
Failed winter indeed. I have been waiting for the snow all winter. Not once have I needed crampons or ice axe.

If not for the company, this trip would have been a failure in many ways.
In the run up to the trip I could see the footage of a webcam across the Sound of Sleat and the tops were white from 7-800 meters up.
Not great but not unexpected so close to the sea.
The day before our arrival the temperature rose dramatically. It also rained intensely, and it continued to do so the first night we were there. (it also leaked through the roof, almost onto my computer!)
By the time we started our first hike on Saturday morning it was essentially all gone.
Streams were swollen and the boots squelched and sank in the mud as we were walking. Scrambling felt precarious as we struggled to find purchase on the wet rocks.
The Saturday hike began with the promise of fair weather. If we cannot have snow, let's have at least some views.
We started with dark clouds but these were forecast to lift by mid morning.
They didn't. Instead they came down, the wind picked up and the rain came.
I walked the Ladhar Bheinn ridge but it is as if I didn't, I could see nothing. My camera hung to my side unused, getting soaked. I only took a couple of shots for the record on the cairn at the minor summit.
I soon got miserably cold and the last 5-6 hours of the hike I have been wishing we could go home faster.
A sunny and warmer sunset did manage to cheer me up - -this is when I took the only good shots of the trip - but by the time we got home I was exhausted.

During the night my body shut down.
I threw up the dinner and spent the following 24 hours with a high fever. When it was gone, on Monday morning, it was too late. We took the ferry back to Mallaig and I spent the day driving 400 miles to home.
Simone Tomasi

simato73

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 11:41:43 »
On Friday morning, while we were waiting for the ferry we took a walk on the white sand beaches on the coast between Arisaig and Morar.
This time the view was not as tropical as it had been last May, but still beautiful and moody.
Simone Tomasi

Frank Fremerey

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 13:02:55 »
Ready to go on any Tomasi tour worldwide. I remember the fish restaurant in the harbour. The painter girl too....
never trust a picture that is flawless (modified quote from Tyler Joseph in his song "Lane Boy") https://youpic.com/photographer/frankfremerey

David Paterson

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 20:56:56 »
Yes, I can see you didn't exactly get the best weather, and though nobody actually likes these conditions, I guess your companions were less disappointed - being non-photographers - than you were. Thus the risky business of planning - in advance - trips to Scotland; as if you didn't already know.

There will still be further falls of snow in the Scottish hills before spring really sets in, but the temperatures are so unstable, with such wide swings even in the "coldest" months, that winter climbing must be considered already over for the year.

But just cast your mind back to last May . . . .

simato73

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 21:59:05 »
Yes, I can see you didn't exactly get the best weather, and though nobody actually likes these conditions, I guess your companions were less disappointed - being non-photographers - than you were. Thus the risky business of planning - in advance - trips to Scotland; as if you didn't already know.

Both true. A big group of busy professionals will never be able to move flexibly and change dates on short notice.
We were due to have another one keen on photography (but curiously not on hiking; his plan was to potter around taking pictures but not hiking) however he had to cancel because something came up at work.

But just cast your mind back to last May . . . .

Yes, that was good.
This year there won't be a similar trip for me, I think.
But I think I can talk my wife into allowing a quick last minute trip in the autumn on a weekend when conditions are favourable.
I would be happy to do a repeat of last year together, but if you are not available I might rough it in the car.
I am still dreaming of an autumn long weekend on Skye but that is more difficult, Eleanor will be going to school next year.
Simone Tomasi

David Paterson

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 10:43:02 »
Just to rub a little salt in the wound . . . we had a 3-4" fall of snow here yesterday, and a lot more than that on the hills. But the temperature from about 9am owards was very mild and you could almost watch the snow disappear.  By late afternoon it was freezing hard and the two images were shot from our garden about 5pm. This morning it all looks much the same, the sky is mainly blue, the sun is shining and snow underfoot is crisp and crunchy - a perfect winter day.

Unfortunately, you drew the short straw this time.

simato73

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Re: This is for David Paterson
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2017, 11:06:07 »
Meanwhile, I am enjoying mild, blustery and wet weather.
Simone Tomasi