walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Winter Camp on Cul Mor, Stars and an Awesome Sunrise

Winter Camp on Cul Mor, Stars and an Awesome Sunrise


Postby grahamw » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:52 pm

Route description: Cùl Mòr

Corbetts included on this walk: Cùl Mòr

Date walked: 22/12/2019

Time taken: 7 hours

Ascent: 849m

10 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

This was my first proper trip to the hills since July 2019 due to the new arrival of my daughter, Mirren, who was born in September. After settling in to life as a family of four and with Grandparents eager to help, I felt the time was right to ask my wife if I was allowed back out in the hills lol.

I'm very lucky to have a wife that understands I have a passion for the great outdoors and photography, and that I need my mountain fix every now and again. As I hadn't been out for a while I knew I had to make this trip a "Big Trip" this is code that my wife and I use for a trip that involves me heading away for an overnight camp somewhere, usually to the far north if weather permits.

Permission granted for a "Big Trip" so, my brother in law, Ross and I decided we would head to Cul Mor hopefully to summit camp and photograph an epic sunset, the Milky way towering above Inverpolly wilderness and then a temperature inversion the following morning ha ha (we can all but hope). This trip was a total wash out - we drove the 5.5 hours from Larkhall, climbed Cul Mor in the rain/snow and pitched our tents high on the shoulder of Cul Mor in the snow and thick cloud. We woke up the next morning still in thick cloud but also in the middle of a swamp as the snow had thawed.

Here is a short video of part one of the trip...(part 2 is below where I climbed Cul Mor again a few weeks later)


The photo below was taken on the descent. This was the only time I had my camera out my bag the entire trip.

ImageCul Mor Sun Rays by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

This is an area of Scotland I absolutely love and I my intent was to enjoy and photograph the view from the summit so I decided to head back on 21.12.19 to attempt this for the 2nd time. I wasn't satisfied just ticking off Cul Mor as another hill climbed. My initial plan was to head up on 22.12.19 and summit camp, back home on 23.12.19 but I noticed a chance of clear skies on the 21st so decided to driver up at night. I left Larkhall at 18:30, arrived in the lay-by at the base of Cul Mor at 23:00 and spent the next hour photographing the stars and Milky way. I've never seen so many stars before, was spectacular!

ImageMilky Way Above Cul Mor by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

ImageMilky Way, NW Scottish highlands by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

ImageNorth West Scottish Highlands Stars by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

I then slept in the back of my car for a few hours and set my alarm for 4:00am. Got up, made a quick coffee and set off along the path towards the summit of Cul Mor once again. It was a lovely morning to be out walking, no wind at all and the stars above me. I was tempted to stop and take some more astro shots but decided to stick to the original plan and get to the summit for sunrise.

A few hours later I was on the summit waiting on the sun rising. I couldn't believe how calm it was, there was no wind at all. As it was still dark, I set my camera up and took a few test shots with a high ISO just to see if these was any low lying mist anywhere. There wasn't but the views in every direction were absolutely breathtaking.

Even though there was no wind it was still extremely cold so I had both of my down jackets on, 2 x pair of gloves and every other garment I had in my bag on lol I sat on the summit cairn and had a sandwich and coffee and "chilled" no pun intended, for half an hour waiting on sunrise. It was such a magical moment - the sound of silence was deafening. I couldn't even hear a car driving in the distance. It was a true sense of solitude and remote wilderness!

ImageCul Mor Sunrise by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

As the light approached I managed to get a few shots during the blue hour and then sunrise.

ImageCul Mor Sunrise 2 by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

ImageCul Mor Summit Sunrise 3 by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

ImageCul Mor Summit Sunrise. by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

ImageCul Mor Sunrise Looking Towards Suilven by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

ImageCul Mor Sunrise Stac Pollaidh & Cul Beag by Graham Williamson, on Flickr

here is a video of part 2...I got some lovely drone footage as well from the summit.



I personally don't think there is a better way to spend a morning hiking and doing photography. It's such an exhilarating experience that I can't get enough of...anyway, thanks for reading/watching. Back to changing nappies for me ha ha
grahamw
 
Posts: 77
Munros:85   Corbetts:4
Fionas:4   Donalds:4
Joined: Oct 24, 2011

Re: Winter Camp on Cul Mor, Stars and an Awesome Sunrise

Postby Jaxter » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:10 pm

Some wonderful photos there - especially the starry ones :clap:

Cul Mor is a wicked place to spend the night isn't it 8) 8)
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1486
Munros:222   Corbetts:148
Fionas:102   Donalds:49+13
Sub 2000:145   Hewitts:69
Wainwrights:81   Islands:38
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow/Inverness

Re: Winter Camp on Cul Mor, Stars and an Awesome Sunrise

Postby grahamw » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:19 pm

Jaxter wrote:Some wonderful photos there - especially the starry ones :clap:

Cul Mor is a wicked place to spend the night isn't it 8) 8)


Thanks a lot 👍 yeah it's an awesome place to spend the night. It was so peaceful that morning with no wind. Couldn't believe my luck. Thanks again.
Graham
grahamw
 
Posts: 77
Munros:85   Corbetts:4
Fionas:4   Donalds:4
Joined: Oct 24, 2011

Re: Winter Camp on Cul Mor, Stars and an Awesome Sunrise

Postby fälensee » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:33 am

Hi Graham
Hope you don't mind if I use one of your blue hour pictures as my sreensaver? So I can always look at the hills I climbed last Summer (Suilven and Quinag) - Cul Mor is on my list for May 2020.
Barbara
User avatar
fälensee
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 16
Munros:2   Corbetts:3
Fionas:5   
Sub 2000:4   
Islands:13
Joined: Aug 12, 2010
Location: Switzerland

10 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).




Can you help support Walkhighlands?


Our forum is free from adverts - your generosity keeps it running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and this community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Amanda C, Graeme D, Kirsteen491, NeilMox, roryduthie, sctthnry and 43 guests