A Christmas Story - Winter Light on Loch Katrine

28th December 2016
With 7-days to go until Christmas Day I received a very heartfelt message on my website from a lady (Mrs F) in Renfrewshire. Mrs F explained that the ashes of her sister-in-law had recently been scattered on Ben A'an in The Trossachs, and that my image entitled 'Winter Light on Loch Katrine' showed the spot near the summit and also had the classic view along Loch Katrine that her family knew so well. Mrs F asked if I could arrange a canvas print to be delivered in time for Christmas as a present to her brother for whom it would mean so much as the family were still grieving.

Sunday morning and I had to put my thinking cap on. A quick search of commercial printing labs on the web confirmed my suspicions that the last order dates for canvases with delivery guaranteed for Christmas had passed days ago. I had alternative prints I could offer but I didn't know if this would be acceptable.

Late morning and I called Mrs F to explain everything. As an alternative I offered to provide a large 'fine art' print on a textured cotton archival paper that would look beautiful and last a lifetime. I could print and deliver it before Christmas. Mrs F asked me if I could get it framed so that it would be ready to hang. The only way I could do this would be to frame it myself with a commercially available frame from a retailer. As I have been selling my own framed prints for the past 6-months I had all the equipment needed other than a frame. Everything was agreed and I picked up a frame later that afternoon.

On Thursday before Christmas I drove the 50-miles to Mrs F’s home near Linwood in Renfrewshire. By coincidence, working in Linwood from 1991-95 meant I knew where I was going and was there within an hour.

We talked about the walk through the trees to the summit viewpoint on Ben A’an and how recent forestry working has dramatically altered the landscape on the lower slopes. Her brother was climbing it again today. I unveiled the frame, held it aloft and waited. Her expression said it all as I was shown where the ashes were scattered.

As I said goodbye and wished her family a Happy Christmas Mrs F gave me a small Christmas present and card. That was a nice touch and very unexpected.

The day after Boxing Day I sent an email asking how the framed print had been received on Christmas Day.

'My brother was overwhelmed when he opened the print and it was very emotional all round. He absolutely loves it. He hung it on his wall on Boxing Day and it looks stunning. As you know my brother and his stepson went to summit viewpoint on Ben A'an on the day you delivered the print to lay some flowers in her memory. I can't thank you enough and we are all grateful for your service and for going the extra mile'.

Ben A’an is a mountain in miniature in the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. It commands views from its prominent cone shaped summit rocks over 'The Trossachs' to Ben Venue and along Loch Katrine. It is a popular walk with families and the well trodden path to the top, whilst steep in places, takes no more than an hour. The view is breathtaking and well worth the climb, even on a cold, wet and blustery afternoon in early January 2014 when I got my image. No one else was around that day and I remained on top until well after sunset before descending back through the forest by torchlight.

The image I got that day is one of my personal favourites so printing, framing and delivering it to Mrs F in time for Christmas was not only very satisfying but an absolute pleasure.

Winter Light, Loch Katrine

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