Have you lost a camera on Cairngorm?

That was the simple question I asked on Facebook on 6th November, more in hope and for a bit of fun than anything else. Quite quickly lots of good spirited folk and those up for a fun project started sharing the picture below and soon enough it seemed like there may be a chance – albeit remote – of returning the camera to its owner.


So what’s the back story? Whilst crawling around photographing Ptarmigan in the Northern Corries I became aware of something sticking into my ribs. Not that unusual probably another rock I thought to myself. I was staggered when I looked down to see a metallic object and low and behold a camera. Partly covered in snow and with a few bumps I popped the camera in my pocket and when I got back to the car I put it under the blowers to try and dry it out.

On closer inspection the camera was an Olympus u Tough that they advertise as having a “Waterproof, shock-proof, freezeproof design”. So that filled me with hope that we could try and download the images and find the owner. I was easily able to downland the images. The camera still working after an age on the hill and not being rotted is testament to the manufacturer!

The image of the smiling woman in the blue jacket was put on Facebook. A good number of folks got behind the search – it is them I really need to thank as the image was tweeted and shared several hundred times. Even after the first 24 hours had passed there was some interest but by the 8th November I was starting to think about what to do with the camera as no-one came forward.

Then I received an email from someone called Mark C “The person in the photo is my wife”. No way, this is amazing!

“We were skinning up to the ridge to the 1141 spot height when the camera was fumbled and went sliding off at speed into the mist down the flank of Coire an t’Sneachda.”

“Someone posted a link to the facebook page concerning the found camera on UK Climbing today (I don’t do facebook myself), anyway as it was a public image I had a look and low and behold I know the person in the photo (not however the owner) we were all out on the hill ski-touring together the day the camera was lost.”

“I had given this up as long gone a long time ago.”

“I have let the owner know about your facebook page and hopefully he will be in touch. He will be chuffed to bits as he always held out hope it may turn up one day. Thanks a lot for sharing and hopefully reuniting a long lost camera with its owner.”

So we were close but not there yet – Mark recognised his wife but the picture had been taken by someone else!

A few hours later I receive an email from an Austrian called Volker D.

“I believe the camera you found on Cairngorm is mine – lost on an epic day of ski-touring. The photo shows my good friend Diane C.

We were going up the side of the ski area heading towards the North Corries when I stopped and accidentally dropped the camera. As I watched it slide down the hill over the frozen snow into the fog and blizzard, my first instinct was to ski after it. But I quickly thought better of it remembering the many people who have lost their lives trying to save a £200 camera and let it slide away.
The fact that it still works and you have managed to track me down gives credit to the construction of the Olympus µ TOUGH
In any case thanks tons for all your efforts – you’ve made my day!”

So now all that remains is to reunite Volker with his camera – I have suggested we meet on Cairngorm. It seems appropriate!

Out of the freezer – an update at last!

I woke up today and the sun is shining and the birds are singing, even the Long Tailed Duck we can see from the kitchen window are pairing up and it feels like spring is coming. Well its an aeon since we last updated; what with workshops, tours and research into our Spring programme it has been non-stop. We have our new and exciting Black Grouse workshop which has received good interest and we have even started the plans for next winter – watch this space.

Winter in the highlands is fabulous. Harsh, but fabulous. We have managed to all but one of our groups onto one of the true specialities of the region and one of my absolute favourite species – the Ptarmigan.

Winter white Ptarmigan are always worth the climb!

In the Strath our Crested Tit feeding station has delighted guests all winter and the addition of a few props has lightened the atmosphere even on the darkest winter days!

The snow makes for a busy feeding station

We have been working with Chris Sharratt and visiting his amazing Mountain Hare site. Feildcraft is one of the biggest things we help our clients improve and all have gone away with a truly memorable Hare raising experience (sorry!).

Spending time with these is one of the highlights of a day in the hills

In relict forests special creatures roam and one the highlights of the winter was an encounter with the horse of the forest – the Gaelic for Capercaillie. These incredible creatures are severely declining so to be able to see this impressive male on good form will live in the memory forever. Please visit saving the Capercaillie

Capercaillie in snow storm

The harsh weather brought unusual visitors out of their normal secretive habitats

A completely chance find - well done Jim!

I am sure we will be back in the groove of posting more often soon, and with our new blog you can now leave a comment too!