The British landscape is often its best at sunrise or sunset. At times it can be a brief few minutes of vibrant skies before conditions change, but at others, like the volcanic sunsets of 1991 (six months after Pinatubo went off) can develop for up to an hour before finally fading away the deepest shade of red. If you make it right to the end of this page, there is a special treat of a slide show of that volcanic sunset captured in photos over an hour.
I wildcamped overnight close to the foot of Roughtor and Brown Willy - the highest point on Bodmin Mor. I remember it being a warm dry spell in late March which made the trip practical. I woke around 5am to this stunning view of Roughtor with a cloak of mist lit by the dawn light. As always with low light, my camera didn't do very well, so this is one subject where the painting is much closer to how it looked than the photo.
In the far North of Scotland, sunset can be very late in early summer, with the glow lingering past midnight (BST).
I was staying at Torridon youth hostel in October for this one. I decided to get up early to capture the morning light. A short stroll along loch Torridon gave me this view reproduced here in paint - looking across the loch with the wall of Liathach behind me.
At any time of year, with the right light a good sunrise or sunset can cast a whole mountain in rich colour, as in my old picture of the Buachaille at dawn. Note how the colour changes from top to bottom on the mountain. This view lasted only 15 minutes, in which time I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran bare foot outside the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe, only to find how chilly an October morning can be.
Volcanic Sunset (photographic sequence)
When mount Pinatubo erupted in the Phillipines in 1991 I was living in Cambridge. About six months later I noticed the sunsets were very vibrant. I was reading a book - Sunsets Twilights and Evening Skies at the time, which discussed volcanic sunsets in one chapter, and this was clearly what it described. I took a series of photos at 10 minute intervals over an hour which are here as a slide show. After a few weeks the sunsets returned to normal, and I have never seen anything like it since - a once in a lifetime treat for the eyes.