Looking back at my photos from this year serves as a great reminder of some fantastic trips over the last twelve months. Let me share a dozen of my most memorable shots: not the best photos necessarily, but the ones that evoke the many outdoor experiences I’ve enjoyed. From hiking, skiing, cycling and camping I’ve loved exploring some favourite parts of Scotland, as well as a little further afield.
I took my son skiing to the French Alps in February – our first time skiing together abroad. The weather was mixed, and I suffered from ski sickness on several cloudy days where the sky merged into the snow and played havoc with my balance. But on one day in particular the sun shone and all was right with the world.
February was also a great month for snow here in Scotland. I camped near the summit of Beinn Trilleachan in a foot of snow and was treated to an amazing show of stars and meteors in still, crystal-clear conditions. When the sun rose above Glen Starav’s rocky ridge the next morning the views of the nearby mountains and lochs were simply sublime.
The northern lights lit up the sky in March, with the usual green arc but also some nice splashes of pinky-red. Chasing the aurora is a fickle activity at the best of times but this – yet again – was a real ‘ooh-ah’ moment.
After a get-together among VW California owners in Scotland at Fort William in May I took the Corran Ferry to Ardgour to climb the Corbett, Garbh Bheinn. While it probably wasn’t the best day for sailing a yacht, the blue sky and calm conditions allowed a spontaneous photo of this sailor headed south down Loch Linnhe. I love the colours in this shot, bringing back memories of warm, sunny summer days.
July saw me climbing the 3000-foot hills in Snowdonia over a long weekend. I’d not ventured into the Welsh hills before but really enjoyed the variety of landscape. Just as in Scotland, there was a mix of torrential downpours and drier spells. Fortunately it stayed dry long enough for me to enjoy a gripping round of the Snowdon Horseshoe via Crib Goch’s knife-edged ridge.
A family holiday touring California and other west coast states was full of variety. We did try our luck at learning to surf at LA but didn’t quite become as accomplished as this guy I snapped at Cambria, a great little town where our apartment overlooked the beach.
The Grand Canyon was, as ever, jaw-dropping. Unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to do any serious hiking on this trip but I took the chance to walk down into the canyon to Ooh-Aah Point before joining the family for the obligatory viewing of the sun setting.
Back in Scotland I joined my nephew for a long weekend cycling from Mull north to Mallaig. The best day for weather and scenery was when we cycled around the hilly west coast of Mull, with great views of the sea lochs, islands and Mull’s only munro, Ben More.
I did a lot of walking in the run-up to and including my Mountain Leader assessment in the Lake District in September – but given I was ‘on assessment’ I wasn’t allowed to take any photos. This contrasted with a winter walk up two Trossachs Corbetts in the company of Will Copestake and other new-found friends in November. This was one of those rare days that just had it all: deep powder snow, a cloudless sky, a temperature inversion and a fog bow. It was impossible to take a bad photo; this was winter walking in Scotland at its absolute best.
I took many hundreds of photos during the year but for me, these twelve bring back some of my most enjoyable experiences in the outdoors. Which is your favourite?