I can’t visit Scotland’s mountains – so I’m sketching them instead


It started with Ben Hope, a mountain about as far north as you can go on the mainland UK. Rising from the Flow Country, in Sutherland, Ben Hope is famous for being the most northerly Munro.

I was sitting at home in Yorkshire, thinking back to when I climbed this mountain about a decade ago. Suddenly I wanted to draw Ben Hope, to capture its shape and character, that lonely hill up there, a long way away, in a place I love to be. Doing so helped to jog my memories of the misty spring day I reached its summit.

I did this sketch earlier this year, during the first lockdown. With no chance of getting to Ben Hope, or any other mountain for that matter, I took to revisiting them through memories – sketching scenes from some of my previous adventures.

I am a fell runner. I love to spend time in and around the UK’s high places. The mountains of Wales, the Mournes of Northern Ireland, the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands and islands … over the past 20 years I have come to know many of these, spending days running, exploring and sleeping high among them, then waking up and doing it all again the following day.

Heather running in the Mamores, with Ben Nevis in the distance. Photograph: Andrea Priestley

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