A swarm of locusts could not have done a better job of stripping the supermarket shelves of wine, spirits and ales (oh and some food), as the eager EPZ pilgrims packed their cars, in preparation for the long weekend ahead of them. Compact flash cards were cleared, dust bunnies were eradicated (in most cases) from sensors, and tripods tested, in readiness for 5 days of photographic fun!
Some folk just could not wait to arrive…. They wanted to be at Loch Lomond for sunrise, yet for some bizarre reason, they decided to catch the sun rising over the temanents of the Gorbals instead. Just as well that Paul (StrathB) got some shots to show how it was from the shore.
Following airport pickups, one group of intrepid explorers decided to do their shopping down at the local Asda, while waiting for Soozie’s (suziblue) delayed train to arrive in Glasgow. Having cleared the aisles, the convoy made their way through the quiet city streets to pickup Ms Blue from the well signed train station! Once collected and supplies obtained the convoy headed north, in antipation of a wonderful Lomond sunset.
En route to Davie’s Hoose, other pilgrims were found lurking by the roadside. The convoy pulled up and asked what was going on, to which Andy (tvcams) responded “Don’t ask”…sadly the convoy did as told, and missed out on the opportunity to photograph Angie who was updating her nickname from Stick In The Mud to Stuck In The Ditch…and was being towed out!!! Now that would have made a great photo!
At long last, one by one, each and all of the Thursday crowd arrived at their chosen destination. Hugs and screeches of delight were made upon meeting with old friends and new and that was just the men! Priorities were set and alcohol was poured before unpacking. The sun was observed setting behind the distant hills. As the sun set, the temperature dropped like a stone. This certainly sorted out the men from the mice. The sensible wimps took residence in the lounge or in the kitchen while the hardy , well oiled or nicotine-addicts stayed outside, greeting more pilgrims in need of some liquid refreshment.
And so it was that everybody settled in, chilled out, ate, drank and made merry. Some lucky pilgrims were entertained by Matt (wagster) and his magic string, before he and various members of the gang decided to hike down to the pub to partake in food and ale.
The last person to arrive that night would surely have been Teresa who decided to make up straight from work . Teresa, it would appear, spotted StevieB, Big Bri and others who were still down at the local hostelry, and with a screeching of brakes, was quickly consuming red wine with them, to make up for lost drinking time.
It’s will come as no surprise to know that the partying went on till gone 2 in the morning.
Eventually, sleep was needed and silence descended upon the hostel – or did it?? It would appear that Big Bri had some competition when it came to snoring and the roof of the hostel could be seen for miles, being sucked in and blown out again..
And so Friday arrived, nice and early for some, who managed to climb out of their bunks and be on the shore for sunrise. The weather was milder than the previous day, and we were robbed of any decent sunrise shots. There was a thin mist though so cameras of all shapes and sizes clicked away, up and down various banks and jetties along the loch.
There were those that did not make it up for the sunrise, nor even for lunch, (no names mentioned), and of course, there were the folk who wandered around aimlessly looking for remedies for hangovers.
While the likes of Snoozy snuggled up in slumbeland (oops, I said who it was now!), others were climbing up Ben Lomond, burning off their excess of alcohol from the night before. “Team Lomond” consisted of Teresa(teresaH), Matt (mattwaggie), Mark (markscholey) and Robert (sabreur). They were blessed with good light and good views as they approached the summit of the Ben. It was all downhill from there!
Meanwhile, on a hill far, far away…. StevieB decided to do a climb all alone, and thought that falling on said hill would not become common knowledge to all and sundry………….. : )
As the day progressed, and people returned to the hostel to see what images they had managed to acquire so far, the electric grid felt a surge of power as the laptop computers were plugged in and batteries recharged, prior to everybody going back out again to chase waterfalls, mushrooms and the sunset.
The “boat” made a brief guest appearance but soon started to sink, until Paul (strathb) found the plug and using his special tool – a saucepan - began the task of bailing out….
The evening was a social delight. Pizzas all round, Garlic bread and good solid nosh all cooked and served up by David and Ian filled us up and warmed us to the tips of our toes, and we once again descended on the drink. We were entertained by a wonderful, but brief firework display as the rain decided to fall and wet the fireworks. Some people who were working just had to drop by to make sure we were all behaving ourselves and I introduced Dan (culturedcanvas) to his partner! Sadly the rain stopped play, the fireworks were abandoned, and we all retired to the lounge and made merry once more.
Fraser decided to dress up and model for the ladies – Angie (arwensgrace) was in her element! She flashed away, keeping Fraser smiling, and a few other togs decided to join in and impress Fraser all the more with their gadgets.
And so another evening of merriment went into the wee hours…
….A few more hours along, ie 5am, alarms kicked in and pilgrims were dragging themselves out of their pits, many in a drunken slumber. Flasks were filled, sandwiches were made, and breakfast (or supper in some cases) eaten. It was time for the dedicated togs to make their way to the two minibuses that had been booked for 6am and go out in the quest for sunrise shots and autumnal images of Scotland. So the first bus arrived and was slowly filled with 11 pilgrims who were looking forward to snapping away in the Trossachs.
Luckily that bus was not totally full and there was plenty room for stacking the rucksacks, tripods, butty bags and flasks. There was even enough room for Rodd (spencerman) to pour himself onto the back seat of the bus, stretch out, and catch up on some more well-needed sleep. The driver of the bus thought he would drive right up to the hostel car park to pick up his group. Well, being a minister I guess he had their best interests at heart. However, he then had to ask two of his weary, hung-over passengers to walk at the back of the bus, within sight of his mirrors, while he reversed down the single track drive to a safe turning point, as it was pitch black out there.
Meanwhile, the Glencoe bus had waited at the entrance to the hostel (where said safe turning point was) and 13 sleepy togs squeezed themselves and their kit onto their rather cosy bus, and snoozed while heading north.
And so it was that much clicking and chimping was done throughout the day, at both locations. Chris (croberts) had decided to continue with his chosen choice of hobby during the weekend away and by 8am had his first can of Guinness was getting an airing. It did a good job of modelling up at Black Rock Cottage too! Rodd decided that he preferred to work with his tripod only using 2 legs rather than 3, and Colin thought his camera was in need of a good wash down at Glen Etive. Pub lunches were the order of the day, while the rain poured for the Glencoe gang, so good food and good ale was acquired at the Clachaig Inn. Dave (mcgoo) was so keen to get back out and snap away again that he left his coat and mobile phone in the pub – any excuse to go back, eh!
By teatime all pilgrims had returned to the hostel and were exchanging tales from the days events, and downloading photos once more. The biggest event must have been for Dan (culturedcanvas) who’s trendy 4x4 off road vehicle could not deal with the Scottish hills and decided to break down, for the second time in two days, and had to be stretchered off to 4 x 4 hospital.
|By early evening, everybody was grouped together in the dining area and Angie’s (beaniebabe) raffle was underway… and what a success that was! £550 was raised for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Well done Angie and Andy for all the hard work you put in to the raffle – it was a huge success, and great fun was had during the draw.
Once the raffle was over, it was a mad dash across to the local hotel where copious amounts of wine, lager, whisky and various other spirits were consumed.. Oh – some delicious food was eaten too. The evening had great party spirit, everybody got on so well, and dancing and singing was the order of the evening. The landlord clearly was happy with the company, bought everybody a drink too. A glass (or 2) was raised to celebrate Arnie’s birthday (arnieg), and lots of papping occurred around the room with those hardy folk who still had not had enough of taking photographs, and had brought their cameras with them to the pub.
So came the time to stumble home in the dark…. And also came the time that Teresa (teresah), Mark(markscholey) and Matt(matwaggie) decided it was time to cool down after all the revelling that had gone on… in the Loch!
Semi-naked skinny dipping occurred while the cameras were hastily switched on to catch the evidence. Fully naked skinny dipping occurred later on, although whether photographs were obtained of such events remains a mystery……..
Would it surprise the reader if I was to say at this point that much merriment then took place back in the hostel lounge and partying went on into the wee hours, once more….. ???
At last we come to Sunday… a sad day, really, as quite a few pilgrims had to pack up their toys, squash everything back into their cars, and with sore heads, return to their homelands…. A subdued mood hung over the hostel.. or was that due to the hangovers that were rife amongst the majority of the group?? Our delightful host, Davie (davewatson), knew of the perfect cure for avoiding hangover and went immediately back onto the beer instead of having breakfast.
The afternoon brought back the enthusiasm for photography once more, and off went the remaining pilgrims to shoot waterfalls, mushrooms, loch-side shots and well, whatever took their fancy. The evening at the hostel was much quieter than the previous nights, yet there was still plenty of fun to be had, watching the last of the fireworks lighting up the dark skies, finishing off the alcoholic beverages, and finally huddling around the computer, letting everybody in EPZ-land know that such fun was being had.
Then came the final day of the Annual Rowardennan meet, and the last of the pilgrims left with their feet dragging and hearts heavy….
Davie slammed the front door shut, gave a leap into the air, and I swear, the whole building breathed a huge sigh of relief!
Peace and quiet once again descended on Loch Lomond and Rowardennan………………………...till next time.
PS: a wee footnote at the request of Dave – Check your diaries for next year, the next two weekends planned are 9/10/11th March 2007 and also 8/9/10/11th November 2007 – watch out for the threads….
Words by Jeanie Lazenby, Assisted by Teresa Hill. Photos by various members on the meet.