When I first became a celebrant, one of my hopes was that one day someone would ask me to conduct their wedding on top of a mountain.
Many years went by but then in March of this year, I got a call from Rob and Jo who not only wanted to take me at my word, but wanted to climb one of Scotland’s most iconic peaks, Buachaille Etive Mhor, the big shepherd of Etive, which stands guard at the mouth of Glencoe.
When I parked up at the side of the A90, I was surprised to meet Jo and her bridesmaid Emily just beginning their 90 minute walk to the foot of the hill from where they’d begin their ascent of Curved Ridge which is a grade 3 scramble on the East face. Rob, his best man, Carl and intrepid photographer friend George Burgess had gone ahead about an hour earlier. I thought I’d better move fast.
So while they made their dizzying ascent the hard way, I followed the rocky path, crossing streams, scrambling over boulders and scree and passing several groups of other walkers en route: I didn’t want to be late!
As it happened, I needn’t have worried. I made it to the 3,353 ft summit with half an hour to spare before Rob and Carl appeared over the lip of the hill.
George stayed below to get some great shots of the girls, but eventually they all made it to the top – with seven minutes to go before the official start time of the ceremony, which has to be a first!
It was as every bit as romantic as you might imagine and of course we had every kind of mountain weather – rain, snow, wind and bright sunshine!
At times I could see all the way to another of my favourite hills, Schiehallion, far across the moor of Rannoch. In the other direction, we could see the bridge at Ballachulish, and of course just across the way, tiny figures were winding their slow way up the Devil’s Staircase on the West Highland Way.
Sadly I had to get back to Edinburgh that evening for a wedding rehearsal, so I couldn’t join the wedding party for their nuptial lunch of haggis at the Clachaig Inn, but I was pleased to get these shots from Jo who said, “I’d love to give you some thoughts but I haven’t really had time to collect them yet. It was a brilliant day and we are loving married life. The press interest has been a bit of a surprise though!”
So perhaps more to add here later, but as always, my thanks to Rob and Jo for a wonderful day and to George Burgess for the stunning shots!