Tuesday, 23 April 2013

April ..thrills and spills in the mountains!

The Cullins from the road to Sligachan

The Easter holidays have come and gone and getting back into a routine hasn't felt so bad after all.

Work from last month is still ongoing. The large painting I had more or less given up on  kept nagging at me. After reinstating the track I finally now feel like it's getting close to working.

Oil on canvas 100x100cm
Our hopes of going to Skye over the holidays materialised and we spent a few very cold but enjoyable days,walking, climbing and lolling about.

Skye hasn't see any rain for many, many weeks and it was strange to see how dry and yellow the  grass and moorland was. Many of the burns were dried up as well. And all this un seasonally dry weather has resulted in numerous and troubling  wild fires. Not so good for the farmers I'm sure but any climbers who were fortunate enough to make it up to Skye over the holidays have been having a ball.

The conditions up top in the Cullins were truly alpine. Crampons and axes were the order of the day. Not having climbed in snow and ice like this for a very long time it certainly was something that felt new and ever so slightly scary!
The descent on the first day wasn't without incident ( balled up crampons and an  ill judged foot placement resulted in abit of a tumble!!) but safe to say I'm still here and keen to get back up to Skye when ever the opportunity presents itself again.

The views were amazingly beautiful.... snow covered mountains are so magical, intimidating and other worldly.

Bidein Drum nan Ramh

Looking towards Sgurr nan Gillean with Bla Bheinn in the distance

Gillean on the ridge of Bruach na Frithe
Summit photo
Looking towards south at the main Cuillin ridge from the summit of Bruach Na Frithe
More down climbing
Sgurr an Fheadain

Time for a loll about

Bouldering with views !
Cuillin ridge from Beinn na Callich

Beinn na Caillich ridge snakes away into the distance
 Back in the studio I started on a series of small oil studies which have ended up  implying a kind of rocky landscape....maybe they'll develop into some more substantial works...later.

Coming back home and spending an afternoon in the relative warmth of Northumberland and then a chillier days climbing in the Lakes, Skye and her mountains felt and still feel like another planet, or at least another country.
 This quote by Charles Pilkington in 1888 on the back of Gordon Stainforths' excellent book on the Cuillin sums up a visit to Skye and her mountains very well.

"We who have been have gone again,and advise you to go. You will not be disappointed"

Lastly, those collographs I mentioned in my March blog. Well I had a play around with inking them up. It's a start and I'm looking forward to making up some larger more experimental plates in the coming weeks.

Small Collograph