The sky is becoming a little less blue, minute by minute, as the vibe from bluebird day begins to change. As we head down the clouds begin to roll in, whipping up the snow around us and pushing us sideways as we head back down to the car park, the view of Loch Morlich still visible through dancing powder. I’m thinking about food, and a shower, and how much fun I’ve had.
We solo on the gentler start, comfortable on the terrain but then the rope comes off the bag, time to pitch. This will be our most technical gully, we’ve done some II climb on ridgey-clambery terrain but not in a gully, so I’m quite interested to see what the gear-situation is.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve genuinely felt so immersed in something. Even when shooting other things, I’m worrying about other things and I find it pretty hard to switch off these days, though going into the New Year I’ve really been working on it. But I really did find myself totally in the moment here. Feeling the cold and concentrating on the shots.
Michael falls asleep at about half past seven. I doze and wake and doze and wake. I’m pretty sure I heard a ghost at one point but it was probably the wind. I wonder whether I’d feel comfortable staying in a bothy alone. I’m unsure. I’ll stay in the van alone, I’ll camp alone, I’ll bivvy alone. But part of me wonders whether staying in a bothy alone would be too much for me. Ghosts or no ghosts.
Every time I think I’ve settled into some kind of acceptance about being at home, about missing the winter season, the hills, (the suffering!), the specific kind of creativity that comes with looking through a viewfinder at a wild landscape, I’m then thrown back out of that acceptance.
We headed down, taking our time, picking out the details of the rime on the rock, how the ice formations were shaped like leaves, carved by the winds of yesterday. I played around with shooting on a 55mm, the only lens I’d brought up with me.
It’s not the actual getting into the water that is hard, that I can do. But, it’s just getting to the water’s side in the first place. Picking myself up, leaving the safe place and making the journey there.
It quietly turns to blue hour. My legs are tired, there’s a small bubble of frustration deep in my chest at my lack of fitness, but my heart is happy for being out. To have headed out with a tiny camera and trail running packs and to have been rewarded with an evening like this.
I’m stoked, because for this shoot I got to pick my own models, and location. I’m planning to shoot up on Sharp Edge at golden hour, getting a wintry vibe on a summer-autumn morning.
And it’s just that feeling, you know? With being a little uncomfortable but still safe. A feeling you crave.