It’s that time of year again when the turmoil of the summer holidays has faded, and life settles down into a routine that is only broken when Christmas rears its head and dominates our diaries. For many of us this is a period of doldrums when short days and long nights make it a time of year to be endured rather than relished.
Not me though. I’m with Dougie Cunningham, the gifted photographer whose stunning images we are featuring in this issue in the Cold Light of Day feature. This explores Dougie’s love of heading out from Glasgow and making for Scotland’s wildest corners in deep mid-winter, when he finds the solitude and the soft light that only appears fleetingly over the summer. Some might find his love of winter strange, and his joy at finding himself on snow-capped peaks a bit masochistic, but I instinctively get it. Roaming around one of the steepest parts of Ardnamurchan recently, I stopped at the top of a Corbett and looked down the glen towards the sea, only to be captivated by half a dozen shafts of light which broke through the cloud cover and shed a dappled spotlight on patches of hill and moor. It was a remarkable sight that I watched for ages until the wind shifted and the rays dried up.
If anything, my biggest problem with being out in the wilds is that it’s too warm. After a summer of continual rain and low temperatures, if anything it seems even warmer now than it was at the height of what we laughingly called summer. Call me weird, but I yearn for snow and a cold snap – if only so that I can galumph around Glenshee on skis – but instead find myself out on the hill in early November wearing just a t-shirt and still feeling uncomfortably hot. No matter. Whether it’s hot or cold, snowing or raining, there’s nowhere better to be than in the hills, whether it’s in high summer with the midges, or mid-winter with only Dougie for company.
Richard Bath, Editor