As we tuck into dinner and a pint of local ale, I ask the question “Is everyone up for a sunrise hike up the mountain tomorrow?” There's a resounding yes and so our plan is set.
It’s 6am, Sean’s alarm is ringing and the whole room is dark. It takes me a while to register where I am but soon enough my mind clicks into gear. I unzip my sleeping bag scramble off the top bunk and find my clothes. I’m a huge sucker for sunrises, always up for a dawn mission no matter the weather or the purpose of the mission. It’s just amazing to be out when the world is waking up, feels like a secret that’s open to us all, everyday, if we make the effort.
The Devil’s Staircase is our chosen hike for the morning, less than an hour to the top and a 3.5 mile round trip. A little jaunt before breakfast!
We chat away as we walk to the top and watch the changing colours in the sky behind us. Dawn is on it’s way and it’s set to be glorious.
As the light comes up we can see how beautiful a time of year it is to be in the Scottish highlands. The colours come to life with rich greens, reds and browns as far as the eye can see.
It's still relatively dark when we reach the top where the trail flattens out. Sean pulls out the flask with hot coffee. The moment we stop we feel the cold setting in due to the light sweat worked up on the way up the mountain, the coffee is needed! The wind isn’t strong but we can feel it’s prescence. It feels like Scotland
I think of all the times I’ve spent in this part of the world, freezing up one mountain or another. Climbing in the Cairngorns with Charley, standing on the summit of Ben Nevis, swinging ice axes in the depths of a winter storm and cycling through the highlands on a very frosty morning three years ago with Sean on our Three Peaks Cycle Challenge. There’s something about Scotland that draws me in.
“Shall we explore?” James says, already heading off through the heather and bogs in search of more photo opportunities. The sun is rising behind the hill we are on, so we head to higher ground to get a different view.
Best decision ever. We see incredible rays of colour across the sky slashed with moody clouds. We start running towards it. We don’t want to miss a second.
I love being here and stand still to fully be in this moment. On top of a mountain in Glen Coe, with not a single person in sight, the wind whistling around us, blowing everything. Blowing the blades of grass, the clouds, my hair. I feel wrapped in the wildness of nature.
Time disappears as we play with our cameras and enjoy where we are. The sunrise changing every second.
I’m reminded that time is passing only by my stomach rumbling. We’ve been out for nearing three hours and it’s breakfast time.
We pack up and say goodbye to the mountain top before heading back down the trail to our hut.
As we head back to our hut and debate who is in charge of making the bacon sarnies, the light filters through the Glen Coe valley. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s incredibly beautiful and warming.
What a way to start the day!
I’ve recently started a partnership with Panasonic Lumix UK with the focus being on 4K Photography. I’m using the Panasonic GH4 to shoot bursts of movement in 4K video and then extract high resolution stills from 4K video. It’s a whole new way of photography for me, shooting in video rather than stills, but the camera captures 30 frames per second! This gives me the opportunity to capture movement in an entirely new way and choose the perfect moment to share.
All the photos in this blog (bar the last two photos by James) were taken with the GH4 in 4K video. I’m far from being a pro yet, but I know there’s only one way to improve and that’s practice!
In the next few months I'm cycling across North America, mountain biking in Bolivia and trail running in Patagonia giving me plenty of opportunity to practise and share my adventures. Stay tuned!