Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Cruel Cuillin

Graham Paterson, 1952 - 2012

The awesome beauty of Skye's Cuillin mountain range attracts walkers and climbers from the world over. Many visitors employ a mountain guide to take them safely into the hills.

One of the best was Graham Paterson.

Graham was renowned for his patience and encouragement. He was also very conscious of the need for caution and safety. A Client Comment on the website I created for him reads: This man knows every rock, every path, every place to escape from and hide from weather and wind... he builds confidence and helps guys like me achieve stuff I could never dream of... he is an absolute star in my eyes and made my week on Skye the most terrific, fabulous, enthralling, exciting... and most of all FUN time ever...

Last Thursday, Graham was booked to lead a novice walker for a walk in the Cuillin. The detail of what actually happened, we will probably never know, but somehow, Graham fell and was injured. His client came back down from the hills to raise the alarm, but by then it was night. Search teams, including Search and Rescue Association dogs and an RAF helicopter, did their best in the appalling wintry conditions that overcame the hills that night. By the time Graham was found, his injuries and the weather had taken their toll, and Graham was dead.

We just cant believe this has happened, and are struggling to cope with such dreadful news. We send our fondest love and hugs to Graham's wife, Annie. We are thinking of you Annie!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Mid-Winter Visitor and Great Skye Photos

We have just had the enormous pleasure of welcoming a first-time-on-Skye family member for a five-night stay at the Barn. Our visitor was Jeremy, my nephew-by-marriage. He came for a much-needed break from his pressurised and stressful job as a Project Developer for the HM Govt. Met Office. (Yes, the Met Office needs to make a profit, and people like Jeremy help to achieve that profit...)

Unfortunately, Jeremy's visit coincided with me being unusually busy doing stuff for us, so he spent his days wandering Skye on his own, having been pointed in what we thought to be the best direction. Jeremy had been advised to bring a camera, and he did just that, using it to especially good effect. I post below (with Jeremy's full permission) just a few of his fantastic photos.

He left here this morning saying that he will be back - I hope that Jeremy's next visit will coincide with a time when I can also get my boots on and join him on some of his walks!

Jeremy's walk beyond Glen Brittle was thwarted by a burn which was too deep to ford, but he took these stunning photos at his 'turn back' point... (As ever in this blog - click on any picture to view it full-size)

The next day was wet and misty, but we suggested Jeremy should explore Trotternish and The Storr. He certainly captured the atmosphere... 

However, the next day, the Skye weather-switch had been clicked, and for his last full day on Skye, Jeremy enjoyed wall-to-wall sunshine. He returned to the Storr, and came back with...

Jeremy also took many photos from the Barn and it's immediate surroundings.  Of course, we have hundreds of our own pictures taken here, but  it is a delight to see where visitors point their cameras. Jeremy took this picture late in the evening  just a couple of miles from the Barn. It is a long exposure, so not sharply focussed, but I like the 'painterly' quality of the image. 

Jeremy has said he would like to return to Skye to explore further when the daylight hours are longer. I can confirm that he will be most welcome, as will any other of the Devon-dwelling Dorrell/Bonnett/Tandy family!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Work to Retirement Diary

A long-time friend of mine has just reached 'that' age when giving up full time employment begins to look like a very good idea. To be honest  I reached that age when I was about 30, but one needs an income from somewhere...

And it is that need of income that keeps most of us in paid employment longer than maybe we need to. We like to be sure that we will have 'enough' for the rest of our lives, and it's not easy to estimate what 'enough' might be.

But, having finally made the decision to retire, we then look ahead at a life without the daily routine of going to work, and some find that scary, and even use it as a reason for keeping on working.

For me, I had no trouble at all shifting from one life to another, but then I sometimes wonder if I am retired at all after a day with a double turn-round, 5 beds to change, two bathrooms and kitchens to clean and a lawn or two to mow...

For my friend, Sara, making the decision to retire exercised her mind more than somewhat  and now she is just on the edge of discovering that there are so many things she at last has time to do, that she wonders how she ever had time to go to work...

Sara started a blog a few weeks before she retired, and I think anyone who has recently retired, or who is coming-up to do so, will find her blog to be interesting reading. You will find it here.

Happy retirement Sara!