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Before sun-up, 5 December. View looking south-east from Ardivachar, taken 0837. Sunrise time for our postcode: 0853 (though the actual appearance of the sun is about half an hour later at this time of year since its actual rise is obscured by Thacla, on the right of this photo).

Great views all round this morning, aided by starry skies overnight and an absence of cloud cover, a complete absence of wind and thus a sharp frost which left the grass crunchy underfoot and the light clear and the visibility well-defined. There were very strong views to the hills of Harris to the north, about 65 kms distant; to the Monach Isles to the north-west; east to MacLeod’s Tables and the Cuillins (red and black) on Skye; and, here, south-east to Thacla’s foothills and, in the far distance, the 70kms down to Rum. That’s also a thin sliver of Loch Bi following the photo’s lower third. And soft colours everywhere: gentle pinks and blues and greys reflecting the early sun to the north and west; stronger, but still very soft focus, oranges and blues to the east and south.

img_3827-customLooking, well, towards the sun; at 0816 (actual sunrise, just about centre of the pic (‘x’ doesn’t quite mark the spot), was only a couple of minutes later). The Cuillin Ridge on Skye is just off-frame to the left but also very visible this morning (as indeed is the Monach Isles lighthouse, roughly north-west; and Rum’s mini-Cuillin to the south-east).

The apparent fireball with the child-drawn face (with a hand held up to whisper ‘hush?’) – yes, it really was there. (What is seen can never be unseen.) No wonder our ancestors felt their lives to be controlled in some way from beyond the skies!

Sunsets are usually more my thing (sunrises tending to occur at an hour that is simply too early); but a run of really fine (dry, calm) weather, with officially ‘very good’ visibility, combined with this being the last week before the clocks go back and a desire to try at most costs not to let our wood-burning stove go out, means that sunrise pictures are just about doable. And we’ve had some crackers recently. In a few days, all being well, the earth’s tilt and rotation (yes, I’m more of an artist than a scientist) means that sunrise will be fully behind the wind turbines. Now, that would make quite a statement!