The Tipping Point - Lochan Nan Cat

It was 5pm Sunday and I had just finished my 7th day of work. It was now time to drive the 2 hrs 10 minutes to Lawers in Perthshire, then a 2 hr 20 minute ascent in the dark up to Lochan nan Cat at the foot of Ben Lawers. Time was not on my side as moonrise was just after 10pm and I knew it would fill the sky with light making it impossible thereafter to see the Milky Way. I knew this lochan existed as I passed it with my friends when doing the 3 munro walk of Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc earlier this year (see the link in the comments to Andrew’s excellent video of our day). 

This was my first time up here in the dark and because of its height of nearly 2200 feet above sea level, the sub-zero temperatures, and the very minimal light pollution, I have never seen such clarity in the night sky! This photograph was taken at the tipping point just as the moon began to illuminate the 3600 foot plus mountain peaks…10 minutes later the Milky Way was starting to fade away behind the pale moonlight. By 3am I was back down in my car and had arrived at my next photographic location of Glenlyon in preparation for the 30 minute walk up to split rock for sunrise.

Peter Ribbeck, 2019