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What’s so great about winter? by John McSporran

glencoe walking

On November 22, 2017 By Rebecca Field In All things hiking News Winter

New for 2018: Glencoe Munros in winter

We’ve scheduled a new trip for winter 2018. We’re going to be based in Glencoe for a week in March bagging some tasty Munros. It’s a new venture for us so we’ve looked for some spectacular images to illustrate the trip. On a search of Flickr, we found John McSporran. John has kindly agreed not only to lend us some of his spectacular Glencoe images, but he’s also written a brief summary of why he personally finds Glencoe such a fascinating area to explore.

GUEST BLOG: Photography in Glencoe by John McSporran

I first began photographing Glencoe about 20 years ago. It is one of those places where the weather is always changing, the light can be fantastic one minute and terrible the next. It can be mean and moody, mystical and magical, but always interesting and frequently awe inspiring. Even on horrible days, that fleeting moment when a beam of light strikes the mountains makes it all worth while.

About 10 years ago I realized that if I wanted the best photos of Glencoe I needed to get high.  That’s when I began climbing its mountains. Then I realized that I needed to be ‘up top’ for sunrise and sunset (the golden hours). That’s when I climbed in the dark using a head torch. Then I began to camp out up top. Then I went ‘full on’ and climbed in the dark in mid winter using an ice axe and crampons – just for that one great photograph. Carrying 25 kilos / 55 lbs of camping and photography gear to the top of a mountain can be hard (particularly when in your late 50’s), but the experience of stunning sunrises and sunsets in Glencoe makes it all worth while.

Why go out in the mountains?

I have met hundreds of people on the Scottish mountains, some I meet many times, some only once, but there is a community spirit amongst those who climb mountains, especially photographers – solitary committed people whose hard shell cracks as soon as we begin to swap stories.

Glencoe Munros

Winter in the Glencoe Munros – the Aonach Eagach

Which are your favourite mountains in Glencoe?

My favourite Glencoe mountains are Beinn a’Chrulaiste and Buachaille Etive Beag. They are not the hardest or the tallest, but they provide the best viewpoints and give sweeping panoramas of the others.

Glencoe Munros

Glencoe Munros by John McSporran
Making good use of light in the Glencoe mountains

What other locations are among your favourite spots in Glencoe?

Other favourite locations are:

  • the Aonach Eagach (have a dance along the ridge and marvel at the 2000 feet drop),
  • Loch Achtriochtan,
  • the waterfalls on the River Coupall (looking towards Buachaille Etive Mor),
  • the Lost Valley
  • and Glen Etive.
Glencoe walking

Glencoe by John MacSporran
The joys of walking in the Glencoe hills

There are so many great locations, you are spoiled for choice.

We have a saying in Scotland – if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes, it will change. I hope you enjoy your visit to Glencoe.

 

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