Saturday, November 03, 2007



I have decided to take my blog "in house" and am now hosting it on my own webspace. Please pop along and say hello at

Everything here has been transported over so no reason to hang around here really..............


Monday, July 23, 2007

Family holidays are great. That's what I keep telling myself! They are exhausting, frustrating and even at points plain hard work. Despite this I know we will look back at these times with great affection. To see the kids use their skills to enjoy the various attractions that the alps have to offer and witness them spread their wings and get into activities such as swimming, cycling, walking, climbing is a proud time as a parent.

To see them enjoy an ice lolly is also a simple joy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rain in the Alps

Rain in the Alps
Originally uploaded by upnorthme
When it rains in the alps it doesn't do it by half. As a Scotsman you think that you know rain - and my webbed feet indicate a certain adaptation to it - but boy the alps can do VOLUME rain. Our afternoon was stopped on Thursday as thunderstorms developed and roads became rivers for a good 2-3 hours.
This shot shows how heavy it was with the road becoming a river and the rooves shedding streams. Once it was finished there were rocks left on the road that would have been a job to lift there. Mother nature was having a bad day.
The forecast is one of improvements but looks like rain will remain as a feature for the next 3-4 days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by upnorthme
The girls (My wife and daughters) flew to Geneva so I had to drive over to pick them up. I passed this field just before entering a tunnel and back tracked to find it. Time was not a major problem and I have seen, and admired, so many sunflower shots I had to have a go. The light was falling fast but with my flash and wireless triggers I set up a tripod and used my remote control to hold the light off camera to the left. Shame about the tree but now I have a sunflower shot of my very own!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc
Originally uploaded by upnorthme
The king of the alps!
I went for a drive on my first night to scope out potential take off areas for my paramotor. I drove to the top of the hill above my chalet and as I descended the other side this view presented itself through the trees. In full tourist mode the van was parked (abandoned rudely) and the tripod was quickly erected to grab this. In the time it took to fire three shots the light had gone. Hopefully I will get a decent view from the air of this fine mountain.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer Holiday - We're off!

Dover Port Entrance
Originally uploaded by upnorthme
I know I extol the virtues of living in the highlands; the fresh air, the majestic scenery, the wonderful lochs. Well everyone needs a holiday now and again so where does someone go to trump that where they normally live? For me it is the alps. No gentle rollings hills or rounded granite mounds worn down and adorned with peat and heather but a younger, sharper, type of mountain landscape.

Where the Scottish Mountains are regal and aged, they live relatively alone at the edge of the European community. The alps however are in the centre of europe and their youthful topography attracts all kinds of outdoor people. From walkers and cyclists to white water rafters, free climbers and of course free-flyers.

We have two weeks to experience these younger neighbours. I hope I am up for the party.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Over the gorms. At last!

For years I have been trying to fly over the Cairngorms in a paraglider. At first it was with good old thermal power. I would make the classic mistakes; take off too early/late in the day, fail to commit or choose the wrong take off site. Well with the addition of power I have less to work out and all I wanted was a clear day and/or high cloud base and little wind so I could make my return.
Last Wednesday was that day. I started in the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore looking out at blanket cloud which the forecast was adamant would clear. I probably shouldn't have accepted Colin's (the shop owner) offer of a second coffee as when I took off most of that cloud had already gone. With hindsight it would have made more interesting imagery but YOU try and resist a Mountain Cafe coffee!
Take off was not quite textbook as the wind whirled around as Sunlight burst upon the ground through the appearing holes but on second attempt I was away. The climb out to the mountains took me over Loch Morlich and the Ski area on Cairngorm. As I climbed the slopes the air was lifting gently so above summit height was soon achieved. I continued up to over 5,000ft where the air was cold but smooth and continued my tour down the Lairig Ghru where I enjoyed beautiful vistas of Ben Macdui, Braeriach Loch Avon and other landmarks within the range.
I circled round the back of Ben Macdui and over the back of cairngorm for my return then over to Loch Einich and Feshie. By the time I had returned to the valley the wind was starting to pick up and I landed in a stiff breeze which signified some big thermals in the mountains. My timing was spot-on. 300 photos in the bag, the only thing missing was another glider. Volunteers for the next trip (probably in winter) please get in touch!