Southern Highlands - streapadair

Camp set up.

6pm

~ It was almost perfectly still, with just a whisper of an easterly breeze, and a camp right on the summit would have been quite feasible, but the mental scars from Beinn Dubhchraig a month before had not entirely healed so I pitched the Vango on a stamped-out platform a little way down to the west. I didn’t possess a sleeping bag fit for these conditions, but a 3-season down bag combined with a fibre-pile liner that I’d bought for summer bivvying proved perfectly adequate. Not trusting a gas stove to perform in this extreme cold I took a paraffin Primus (good old Optimus no.00 - still use it occasionally, for the memories) whose eager roaring was a great comfort, and which was ideal for melting ice chipped off from the confections adorning every boulder.

The eclipse began a bit after 6pm and an hour later was total, the moon dimming to the colour of dried blood, the wide sparkling landscape quenched and cowering, and my spirit cowered and shrank with it. This atavistic reaction was quite unexpected, since I had been looking forward to the spectacle. Primitive awe and dread of eclipses was all too easy to understand, and I retreated to the tent to be consoled by the cheery Primus and to cook a meal.

By the time it was finished the poor mauled moon had almost recovered from its ordeal and was flooding the world with its light again.