Tag Archives: mountain

Walker on Pike o’Blisco (better weather)

Tuesday 13th March 2018, 11.20am (day 2,392)

Pike o'Blisco, 13/3/18

Back in the foul summer of 2012, on 23rd August 2012 in fact, I pictured a walker up in the wilds south of Great Langdale with Pike o’Blisco in the background. Well, here is another walker, actually up on the summit of that fell; and as you can see, the weather was thankfully rather better today. (That is Wetherlam in the background.) I did speculate today about how many nice photos like this I might feature on, unknowingly.

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On Storsteinen (The Big Rock)

Wednesday 7th March 2018, 11.55am (day 2,386)

Storsteinen summit, 7/3/18

Storsteinen is the name of a 421-meter (1381 feet) summit not far outside Tromsø city centre and reachable by the Fjellheisen cable car. As far as my primitive Norwegian can establish, its name just means The Big Rock. Certainly a fine place for an excursion to pass the time on my last full day here on this particular trip — though I’m due back in about seven weeks.

Even including the picture taken on the summit of Kilimanjaro, and the ones in Moscow in January 2017, I nominate this the coldest of all the 2,386 pictures thus far. According to information on the Fjellheisen web site, it was -13ºC up there today. And I can assure you all that it felt like it.

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Flying north

Sunday 4th March 2018, 5.45pm (day 2,383)

Norwegian coast, 4/3/18

This is not the first time I have managed to get out of the UK during one of its wintrier spells only to find myself heading somewhere even colder; though the weather in northern Norway at the moment is also rather sunnier and more pleasant than at home. Taken from the plane at some unspecified spot between Trondheim and Bodø as I hopped up the coast on a succession of flights.

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Sheep on Rannerdale Knotts (again)

Friday 15th September 2017, 11.45am (day 2,213)

Sheep on Rannerdale Knotts, 15/9/17

The six years I’ve been doing this blog have overlapped with the eight years I’ve been regularly going to the Lake District to get my walking fix. It’s been long enough for locations to recur, as I intend to cover the whole place twice. Back in October 2011, quite early on in this blog (day 64), the cover star was a sheep on the summit of Rannerdale Knotts, a small but perfectly-formed peak near Buttermere. I returned there today, and the local sheep-life continued to seem rather chilled out and happy with their lot in life. So let’s picture them again. (Rannerdale Knotts is the green stuff we’re all standing on at this point — the dark mass in the background is Grasmoor.)


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Sunday 18th June 2017, 6.10pm (day 2,124)

Aursfjord, 18/6/17

Did I blow my whole wad yesterday with a picture of the Norwegian landscape? Ah, what the hell. There’s plenty more where that came from.


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Tokyo sunrise (with Fuji-san)

Saturday 25th March 2017, 6.15am (day 2,039)

Tokyo sunrise, 25/3/17

The remnants of jet lag saw me up early, but I had to work today anyway, and photographically, it was probably worth it. Within a short time after taking this the haze had risen and Fuji — a truly beautiful sight — had disappeared behind it. But there you go — Japan’s iconic (and highest) mountain, in its late winter raiment.

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Combe Gill

Monday 2nd January 2017, 11.20am (day 1,957)

Combe Gill, 2/1/17

Public holiday today, and a beautiful day of weather, so I made the most of it and went on a Lake District walk. The remaining photos will be up on my other blog some time tomorrow morning. Combe Gill is a hanging valley above upper Borrowdale, tucked into the massif that is known as Glaramara. And yes, there’s something, well, intimate-looking about it.

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Friday 25th November 2016, 12.50pm (day 1,919)

Bowfell, 25/11/16

Having worked five of the last six Sundays, and as I’m going to be working this Sunday too, and with it being the only Friday morning all semester when I wasn’t teaching — I arranged weeks ago to make this  a completely guilt-free day off. It could have been raining, misty, foul, all the things it usually is in late November….

…. but it wasn’t. Thank you world.

Back on 7th October 2011 this summit, Bowfell, was pictured from a greater distance on an earlier Lake District walk, and it also popped up on 22nd June this year, which makes it the first mountain to get on the blog three times (excepting the obvious case of Kilimanjaro).

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View from Dove Crag’s summit

Saturday 5th November 2016, 1.20pm (day 1,899)

Dove Crag summit, 5/11/16

“This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts.” (Faithless: God is a DJ)

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The roof of Africa

Sunday 2nd August 2015, 6.40am (day 1,438)

Roof of Africa, 2/8/15

So here it is, the culmination of this walk, the highest point in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro (5,895m or 19,341 feet above sea level).

You were getting a photo of it for today even if it had been as flat and featureless as a bowling green, but in all honesty this was the most beautiful, spectacular summit of any mountain I have ever visited. Believe me though, the effort it took to get here was intense. I don’t mean the five days of walking which had proceeded it which — if one can avoid altitude sickness (and I did) was not all that difficult — but the final climb up the ash slopes of Kibo, done between about 11.30pm and 6am, because during the hours of daylight it would be a) too hot and sunny and b) next-to-impossible anyway because one needs the ash to be semi-frozen in order to have a chance of ascending it. I had heard reports of people saying that one took about three steps up and then had to rest for about twenty seconds before having a chance of moving on, and dismissed them as exaggeration, but I can assure you they are not. That is really what it was like.

But once up there… time it right and one is there at sunrise. The light gradually reveals a wondrous landscape of delights, all over three-and-a-half miles up in the air. Here, the summit itself is on the far right of the picture, just caught by the sun which has also (I love this) projected a shadow of the whole summit cone onto the far horizon, neatly laid over Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second-highest peak, which at 4,565m or nearly 15,000 feet is no dwarf but from here is quite overshadowed (literally) by Kili. On the left is one of the mountain’s remaining glaciers, although don’t expect it to be around for much longer as within ten to fifteen years the ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro’ reported by Hemingway will most likely be gone — maps and pictures that show the whole summit area as covered in ice are now obsolete. Still, it’s a landform I’ve never been so close to before, and added an unearthly, or at least an un-African, element to the scene. The full moon above, which had illuminated our climb, is just the final touch.

What a place. Will I be back? Who knows, perhaps. I probably would do it again. If you do get the chance, and fancy putting in the work, I highly recommend it.

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