Friday 24 March 2017

Private investigations

Yes, it's true, I have been in dire straits. Not 'in' Dire Straits, mind, that's a whole other kettle of fish.

Ever since we moved to our lowly hilltop, whenever the atmospheric conditions and the weather have allowed it, a mountain has been visible from our lounge window, over the Pentland Firth, on the Scottish mainland. Early mornings or late evenings often give the best views, as does snow at higher altitudes.

It looks to be a long way away. So far away.

For several years, I have deployed compasses and maps in an effort to identify this mountain. I have tried to calculate angles and lengths of lines using trigonometry. I have even 'driven' along likely Scottish roads in Google Streetview, hoping for a glimpse of topography that matches the shape we can occasionally see from our window. Online searches for others with a similar need to identify a distant bit of geography have proved equally fruitless, as has asking people I randomly meet.

Actually, that last bit's not true. Last year, whilst walking on a West Mainland beach, I bumped into one of Orkney's more well-known beachcombers. The conversation wandered far and wide, eventually pitching up on the subject of my troublesome mountain. Not a problem, says my acquaintance, I'll send you a link.

And he did. Though I am ashamed to admit that I forgot about it.

This week, however, we have been visited by Second Born. Yesterday she asked about all the various peedie islands we can see from Tense Towers. With the help of the OS map for Scapa Flow, I was able point out and name all the islands and some of their features. And this is when I remembered the mountain and the web link.

Here's a photo of it from the end of January, just after dawn...

In case you're wondering, it's the white pointy triangle, just to the right of Cantick Head lighthouse. On the extreme left of the photo, is Dunnet Head lighthouse on the Scottish mainland.

And here, after a bit of tinkering with parameters, is the internet's answer to my conundrum, courtesy of Ulrich Deuschle.

So, Ben Klibreck it is, in central Sutherland. All 962m height of it. At a range of 116km.


The panorama-creating programme can be found here. It's not too difficult to drive, after all, I managed it!


Mark said...

Yes I can see straight away that's Ben Klibreck. Had a bothy trip in the area last winter with stunning views from the summit myself and TWD(the wonderful Deb) were on the summit of Ben Loyal in January the views towards the Orkneys were incredible tho I couldn't quite pinpoint Tense Towers!

Imperfect and Tense said...

This morning brought good viewing weather, so Ben Loyal was visible from here. Tense Towers is diminutive to begin with, so you would've struggled to pick it out. I have to admit to a slight pang of interest in climbing the mountains we see from home...

Martin said...

I'm glad you've found the solution, but wow, that is some visibility. I wonder how much of that distance is caused by your elevation and how much is visual distortion around the curvature of the earth at dawn and dusk....

Imperfect and Tense said...

We're pretty much on the 50m contour line, so I think that any advantage we have is due to the Pentland Firth being at sea level! I hadn't even considered lighting effects at dawn and dusk.