One of the most wonderful sights in the mountains is a Brocken spectre. It is a glorified shadow of a person caused by refraction of low-angle sunlight through wispy, foggy cloud. I’ve just killed the beauty and wonder of the Brocken Spectre . Here’s wiki on it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_spectre. It is named after the Brocken , a peak in the Harzgebirge in Germany.
They are most common in British hills in winter, when wispy clouds play with rays from the weak winter sun. I have only seen three. The first two were on January days on Foel Grach and Y Garn in Snowdonia some twenty years ago. I remember the spectre waving his ice axe at me. That axe came from Chamonix.
My next was just after Christmas 2016. It was a perfect late December day and so I drove to the Temperance Inn beyond Sedbergh and set off to climb the Howgill Fells. I walked up a glacial valley to the foot of Cautley Spout and had a stiff climb to the top, watching out for ice.
At the top of the falls I left the path , jumped a stream and headed up this hill. The views were great.
As I got near the top I was met with a little snow and wispy cloud. It was time for a photostop. I look back northwards over my route, where I contemplated that I could be spending the rest of my life descending a steep slope. I turned round savouring the view to the north east and Great Baugh Fell, and…………
Wow and wow!! It was a Brocken spectre whichj gave me a much justified halo.
I clicked away…
and the spectre faded and went, almost as quickly as it had come.
and so to the top, which was almost an anticlimax.
and so to the descent finding that old knees and ice don’t mix.
It was a fantastic day.
As I reflected on the Brocken Spectre I thought about my tentative relocation of the Mount of Transfiguration. Decades ago I took a propaganda tour from Lake Gallilee to the Golan Heights and then back via the slopes of Mt Hermon and Caesarea Phillipi. South of Caesarea Phillipi we drove past the Mount of Transfiguration, which would be considered a molehill in East Anglia. A year or two back I wondered if the “high mountain” Jesus took Peter and James and James up was not the mole hill of Mt Tabor but could rather Mt Hermon. After all that IS a high mountain and was snow-covered when I was there in April. And so I thought of what the gospel writers (Matthew 17 vs1-9) wrote;
1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.”8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”