Showing the way

_DS85064Piles of stones – cairns – have acted as waymarks for centuries and wherever I travel in the mountains in barren environments where paths are not easily discernible, cairns of one sort or another mark the way.

They become balancing acts sometimes as here, high up on the Matterhorn Glacier Trail.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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8 Responses to Showing the way

  1. Thanks, Andy, for showing us the rock of the mountain, something I’ve rarely—maybe never—seen photographed. Your view of the cairns is nice, too!

    • LensScaper says:

      There are quite significant areas of rock in this area of this deep orange/brown colour which to me suggests a high iron content. A greater proportion of rock is granite with pockets of quartz. But these are the words of an amateur!

  2. shoreacres says:

    That seems a fair number of cairns. I’ve read that they’ve become a bit of a problem, as people begin building them only as art, or testaments to who knows what. Where they’re needed as trail guides, a surfeit of them could be terribly confusing. In some wilderness areas here, they’ve actually led people off trail.

    • LensScaper says:

      You raise a valid point, Linda. There are artistic pretensions exhibited by some of the cairn builders, but hereabouts we are in an area that all who tread its paths respect, knowing all too well of the difficulties created by route-finding in cloud or snow. So cairns may be prolific but thankfully reliable.

  3. Chillbrook says:

    There are many cairns in Iceland Andy and where there has been an eruption and lava flows have destroyed villages and homes, hundreds of Cairns mark the site. This is a smashing image! 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      A cairn is such a simple object but it can have many meanings. Out here in the Alps where there are crucifixes or other memorials to be people who have died, there is very often a small photograph attached too – protected behind glass so that it survives the elements.

  4. seekraz says:

    They can be a comfort when out wandering alone….guideposts to a path that isn’t there…..

    • LensScaper says:

      Yes, I was out yesterday all day climbing close to 6,000ft up to a summit and there were sections when the only guidance to the exact route was provided by strategically placed cairns and the occasional splash of blue and white stripes on obvious rocks.

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