It’s bothering me that I’ve not managed to climb a single mountain in 2015. It’s been a fabulous year with some wonderful highlights – like becoming a father and a home-owner – but in altitude terms it’s been decidedly flat. I love being on mountains for many reasons: fresh air & exercise, being able to appreciate the beauty and majesty of God’s creation, getting inspiration for my writing and photography, and most of all as a chance to get away from the non-stop demands of modern life and just spend a bit of time in peace and quiet. As such, I’m rather pining for high places. I’ve written this post to show-case some of my favourite mountain memories and what I believe are the best photos I’ve ever taken of mountains. It’s the next best thing to being up there, and I hope you enjoy it.
The first mountains I ever visited were in the Lake District with my family. As I recounted in The Roots of Adventure, my parents took us up England’s finest fells at a very young age, and my love-affair with them remains strong. The desire to be back in the Lakes can only be put off for so long. Of course, as a child I either had no camera or a very bad one, so the following photos are from more recent jaunts around the British Isles, including Snowdonia and Scotland as well.
When training for my Everest Base Camp trek in 2011, I climbed the highest peaks of England (Scafell Pike), Wales (Snowdon) & Scotland (Ben Nevis). The first produced no good photos because the visibility was just that poor, but we were fortunate indeed to get such glorious views of Snowdon and Ben Nevis. Both were shot from steep flanking ridges (Crib Goch & Carn Mor Dearg respectively), which as well as being great fun for scrambling also gave superb views of the mountains which are better than if we were climbing directly up.
A more recent visit to Scotland provided some great pictures from the stunning landscape of Glencoe.
When Lucy and I went round the world a few years ago mountains weren’t top of the priority list, but we still managed to take in quite a few: the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps in New Zealand, a massive volcano in Maui and the exquisitely carved limestone monoliths of Yosemite Valley in California.
All of these places are spectacular, but without doubt the greatest mountains I have seen are those in the Solo-Khumbu region of Nepal: Everest’s back-yard. The Himalaya contain all of the world’s tallest peaks, and I was treated to sublime views of them as I trekked from Lukla to Everest Base Camp in 2011.
That’s all for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures, both the humble and the lofty, the near and the far. Here’s hoping there’ll be a little bit more altitude in 2016.