Friday, 28 October 2011

Aonach Eagach Ridge Glencoe watercolour

Aonach Eagach Ridge Glencoe 1
Mixed media on paper

Aonach eagach Ridge Glencoe low cloud
Mxed media on paper
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I first walked/climbed this route back in 1971 just to get away from the lone bag piper droning over his massacre. This ridge is one of the classic Scottish ridges with a long wonderful high, airy scramble etc and a dangerous gully descent straight down into Glencoe near to the Clagaich pub if your mad enough. Its a long day out but a good one even better still in mid winter.  This year  the ridge was the same with a few changes the start is now a stone stairway, theres a queue and the bag piper is Chinese who has a Phd in Forestry, sadly the pubs no longer a wood shack serving draught guiness and whisky its now a classy hotel "Were did you go lassie go?"
I think that Liathac Ridge was steeper and a more challenging mountain experience summer or winter but my opinion in climbing terms is very humble. Here's a link to a great website whicg gives a route description

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Painting of a Westmorland Farm A painting by Rob Miller RSA

Westmorland Farm
Acrylic on Canvas
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Painting of Skiddaw and Thirlmere Lake District through a hail shower A Painting by Rob Miller RSA

Skiddaw and Thirlmere through a hail shower viewed from Hellvellyn
Mixed media on Arches Paper
I climbed up here to the summit of Helvellyn  wearing my Paramore gear which I thought would be okay for a breezy early Autumn day but I was cold.  I stopped a few times  to do a drawing and I also stopped to read a section of Wordsworth's poem based on this very hill.  Needless to say, I became colder still despite a hot coffee from my flask. How tough was Wordsworth and his lady companion?  Very tough I think to wander at will up fell and down dale (include an ascent of Snowdon for Wordsworth leaving at the dead of night) in the clothing and boots that were available in his time and to stop ponder and pen a quick sonnet. 'He was a proper northern lad. ' The walk up from Thirlmere  takes about five hours there and back and is uphill for most of the way, you pass a couple of great places to paint around Dollywagon Pike but its the expansive view down the valley either north or south that captures the attention most. Heres a good guide by the go lakes website. Wordsworth. Ive attached the poem beow with thanks to great books online.

I love to read these poems in situ, the expanse of the landscape, the wind on the cheek and the moving clouds bring me closer to those who loved this land and who considered the land a crucial mode for understanding human nature and human plight. True whichever land is yours by birth or by right.

To ——, on Her First Ascent to the Summit of Helvellyn

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Inmate of a mountain dwelling,
Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn;
Awed, delighted, and amazed!
Potent was the spell that bound thee,        5
Not unwilling to obey;
For blue Ether’s arms, flung round thee,
Stilled the pantings of dismay.
Lo the dwindled woods and meadows!
What a vast abyss is there!        10
Lo the clouds, the solemn shadows,
And the glistenings,—heavenly fair!
And a record of commotion
Which a thousand ridges yield;
Ridge and gulf and distant ocean        15
Gleaming like a silver shield!
Now take flight; possess, inherit
Alps or Andes,—they are thine!
With the morning’s roseate spirit,
Sweep their length of snowy line;        20
Or survey their bright dominions
In the gorgeous colors drest
Flung from off the purple pinions
Evening spreads throughout the west!
Thine are all the coral fountains        25
Warbling in each sparry vault
Of the untrodden lunar mountains;
Listen to their songs!—or halt,
To Niphates’ top invited,
Whither spiteful Satan steered;        30
Or descend where the ark alighted,
When the green earth reappeared;—
For the power of hills is on thee,
As was witnessed through thine eye
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee        35
To confess their majesty!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Painting of Haystacks Summit Buttermere Lake District by Rob Miller RSA

Mixed media on paper
I think I'm becoming a bit of a Haystacks and Buttermere fan I think its a great wild area and alongside its neighbouring Dales and Fells in Ennerdale and Wasdale seems the nearest to the wilderness areas of North West Scotland.  It was also fellow Blackburnian Wainwrights ideal location. I love the way the wild tops, wind blast ridges and streaming becks make their way down to the quieter places. A great place for the wanderer and rambler in one day so much choice and biodiversity.
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