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  • Writer's pictureianbiggs1

The experience

Sometimes, or a lot of times thinking about it, it's the experience of being there as well as taking the shots. We have just recently had the summer solstice and since living in Scotland for 4 years now I had always wanted to spend the night on a hill on the longest day which also means the shortest night, until this year conditions had not looked favourable or I decided against it on previous years. I have done a few summit camps in the past but this time I decided to just bivvy and so glad I did, it certainly saves on weight in the back pack but the sense of freedom a bivvy gives is something else. I chose a munro called Sgorr Gaibrhe on the Corrour estate for my overnight mission, I had been up that hill for the first time about a month previously and really liked the 360˚ views from the top. This is the one then, it's quite a remote hill so the bike came in useful for the approach before leaving it in the glen and the rest on foot, even so it still took 3 1/2 hours in total. It was by now 8pm on the summit and the light show had started already with sunburst rays of light piercing through the clouds, already it was totally worth the effort getting there. Sunset was 10.15 pm and the temperature was starting to drop helped with a fresh wind. I set up the bivvy on the sheltered side of the hill, sleeping pad and bag inside, once in I settled down and lie there just looking up at the sky, not long until sunrise!

I woke up at 2.30 am and there was an orange glow on the horizon where the sun would appear, it never got totally dark at all as I woke several times in this those few hours watching the moon pass overhead. The wind had dropped completely and it was silent, magical, almost surreal. I got up at 2.45 am and started taking shots! Actual sunrise was 4.25 am. Although it was the longest day there was quite a frost with my down sleeping bag doing a good job of keeping me warm. Because the sun only dips just below the horizon in those few hours the pre dawn light lasts a long time giving me plenty of time for different compositions and to just watch and observe and take it all in. It was very hazy and with such cold air created it's own atmosphere, the sky changed colour from purple through to pink and then orange and yellow before the rising sun bleached it all out with subtle sunburst rays in the bluish haze between the hills. Mother nature at her best.

While I am happy with the shots this was memorable for the conditions and the long daylight hours will last a while more so I will look to do this again soon weather permitting of course.

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Ian Biggs

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