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.
These last weeks, the conversation around diversity and representation has gotten louder and louder, with voices and perspectives and experiences making it into the mainstream.
Since my ankle injury I don’t really run anymore, and that’s at sea-level. So it’s pretty safe to say that running at over 5,000 meters wasn’t really something I was hugely equipped for.
But, I ran anyway. Darting about the hillside, thinking every rectangular grey rock was the drone.
Half an hour in. The blue skies disappeared again. And suddenly the wind changed – hard, howling. Hail rained down on us. I thought about putting the camera away – wet smudges obscuring the lens. I wiped them away and kept shooting, running up and down the group as they hiked up.
We didn’t really know what to expect so when we started spotting snowcapped peaks out of the windows, the excitement started to build. Mountain biking? Here? With views like this? Yeeeeeeeees!
It was chilly. The light was perfect. I saw this orange city in a completely different way than I had before, the roofs all creating this golden quality that just worked with the morning light and the mountains in the background.