Brushing off the cobwebs: Glen Coe summit bivvy

Each year, after photographing the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon, I like to take a few weeks out of the Scottish mountains to let the temperature cool down and remove the scourge that is the Scottish highland midge. Last weekend, I decided to end my self-imposed exile and I headed out on an overnight bivvy in the West Highlands of Scotland.

My plan was to sleep atop a peak, photograph the sunrise for a personal client and scope out a location for a mountain running shoot I've got pencilled in for December. After some research, I settled on an ascent of Stob Coire nan Lochan, a rocky summit, 1115m high, that is part of the Bidean nam Bian massif in Glen Coe.

I parked at the popular Pass of Glen Coe at 6.30pm, trekking up Coire nan Lochan as it got dark. The ground was familiar as I'd been in the corrie before, en route to a winter climb of Dorsal Arete. Scrambling up the rocky flanks of Stob Coire nan Lochan by head-torch was good fun. I tried to film my progress on my phone but soon gave up - I should really purchase a GoPro. When I arrived on the summit, there was a slight breeze but the air was dry. Settling in to my bivvy, I listed to the sound of stags braying loudly in the glens below and soon feel asleep.

One of the benefits of heading out at this time of year is you don't need to get up super early to catch the dawn. Sunrise was expected at 7:37am and I was up at a very pleasant time of 7am. After a few arm swings to warm up (I hadn't taken a stove, to save weight), I set up my tripod in the gloomy light of pre-dawn and waited to see what would happen. As it turns out, there was no spectacular sunrise but I was witness to some wonderful views as the sunlight pierced the clouds. After the light had died down, I packed up and headed out to visit the summit of Bidean nam Bian (one of the 282 Scottish 'Munros'). From there, I had an enjoyable jog along the ridge to a second Munro, Stob Coire Sgreamhach (this ridgeline was part of the 2016 Glen Coe Skyline Race), before I retraced my steps to the head of the Lost Valley and headed for home.