Apr 16, 2017 37

My Journey Through the Scottish Highlands

When I was a student at the University of Edinburgh, I’d walk the pretty streets clicking pictures on my Sony camera. For a good 10 years the H5 Cybershot has been my quiet companion.

One momentous time I remember using my camera was on a trip to Northern Scotland. A group of friends from India and I decided to climb up Ben Nevis in the Central Scottish Highlands. It happens to be the highest peak in the United Kingdom. At 1345 meters, however, it isn't even close to the higher mountain ranges around the world, in terms of difficulty. The place though, is spectacularly beautiful!

We ended up staying in a bothy close to Fort William, called Lairig Leacach, during the trip. It was my first bothy experience. For those of you who don't know what a bothy is, camping hut would be the closest description I can think of.

Let me elaborate, these camping huts happen to be in remote locations, where one is more likely to pitch a tent because there are no hotels/BnB's around. The hut itself is very basic with absolutely no facilities. There's no toilet/bed/electricity/even running water, although you are likely to find a stream nearby (usually freezing cold). There may/may not be a fireplace. If there is one you will most likely have to fetch your own firewood (the possibility of finding an axe lying around a bothy is pretty high though). Most bothys are stone buildings with cold stone flooring, which means you can light a candle in there, unlike in a tent, where the chances of you setting yourself alight are reasonably high.

The bothy we stayed in had 2 wooden planks arranged like bunkbeds. The planks were long and wide enough to fit in 5-6 people on each level. We carried our sleeping bags and mats with us to spread out on the wooden planks and sleep in for the night.

Early next morning, we drove down to a rest stop, to wash up and change for the climb up the peak.

The trail was very well maintained, although steep and slightly strenuous in some places. We kept stopping to take pictures. We also found ourselves a scenic spot, on the mountain slope, and sat by for a bit and had our lunch (we had picked up wraps from the rest stop Tesco earlier that morning).

The top was partially snow covered with a steep cliff on one side, and overlooking the town of Fort William on the other.

On my journey to beautiful places like this, I did manage to learn a thing or three about landscape photography. Especially the importance and effect of changing light on the landscape and also how to better compose pictures and include all the interesting elements into the frame. In short this was one of the best short trips I've ever been on, and thanks to my Sony camera I can now preserve these memories forever.