Screel Hill is a favourite wee local hill - great for a quick jaunt which often rewards with a great view across Auchencairn Bay to the South and the Ken Valley to the North. Its sister hill Bengairn is less well known, but happens to be my preference. It's a gentle ramble at first on forest tracks then past ruined crofts and starkly dramatic Larch trees to the heather and bog moorland that comprises this fine piece of Wild Galloway.
Recently I acquired the kit for camping out on hillsides to enable me to get those special sunrises that only mad photographers can get by being up hills at 4.30 in the morning. A tiny wee tent, camera and other lightweight gear packed I decided to road test it all on Bengairn last Tuesday night. It might be lightweight but at about 18 Kilos I could feel the strain on this creaky old frame but I made it. At the close of a fabulous warm summer day I did get a sunset across the Glenkens before I pitched camp and hit the hay(heather) with an set for alarm for 4.30.
Forecast was for a big old fat sun at sunrise so imagine my surprise when unzipping the tent I felt the cold rush of a thick & damp chilly fog rushing past the flapping canvas. That and the grim touch of a damp everything was not quite the romantic image I had of brewing up as the sun rose across Screel Hill and the bay below. Temperature must have been about 5 degrees and my hands were white, that and the depressing prospect of packing up wet gear only to trek home "sans images" was a wee bit testing.
I decide to try to warm up a bit before packing so I nipped up the trig point summit at which point the sun started to punch its way through the gloom and within minutes I was clicking away at a fast emerging ethereal hillscape across on Screel. I do sometimes get caught out by abandoning shoots to early and this was one of those close shaves.
I chose this picture because it suggest more than it really is. The pure hill scene was good too but there is a suggestion of the ancient in this shot, an illusion of course because it's entirely recent and but why let facts get in the way of a good illusion.