AFTER snapping the perfect photo of a couple enjoying a cup of tea on a snowy Mount Errigal, Kells native Noel Hughes launched a social media search to find out the names of his ‘models’.
The mountain climbing photography hobbyist always shied away from climbing in the snow until he was inspired by Donegal woman Nikki Bradley.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Noel said he went online to check the weather forecast as he intended to take a friend from the States to climb Errigal, when a photo of Nikki on top of the snowy mountain popped up.
“The photo sort of gave me the encouragement I needed to take that next step to venture into snow climbing,” he said.
As temperatures plummeted last week, Noel and a group of friends had the choice to climb the Mourne Mountains or Mount Errigal.
With more snow present on Mount Errigal it was clear to the group that they were heading for the hills.
“It was an early start. We left Ballymena about five o’ clock in the morning. There was a bit of rain coming through Letterkenny but once we got to Errigal it was clear,” he said.
As the group set out on their climb, Noel was equipped with his camera in the hope of capturing the perfect shot.
Snapping photos here and there, Noel and his friends were passed out by a couple who were also climbing the mountain.
“They went on ahead of us and stopped at a shelter which is about two thirds up the mountain. I was actually packing my camera into my rucksack to start climbing again when I could see the sun and thought that’s a brilliant photo.
“I already asked the couple if I could take a photo of them looking up at the peak and they said yes. I also took another photo just as the sun was coming up behind the cloud. It was a brilliant shot.
“As soon as I took that shot, I put my camera back into my bag and the snow clouds descended. The clouds started to block out the sun and it was lost completely. From that moment onwards it snowed the whole time. The peak was covered over, visibility was gone and it just goes to show, you have to take every opportunity as soon as it arises,” he said.
Noel snapped the couple as they rested two thirds up the mountain while enjoying a well-deserved cup of tea in the snow.
Due to the heavy snow, Noel didn’t hang around and headed home to check out his photos.
Eager to find the names of the couple, Noel took to Twitter where he put out an appeal and that’s when the search for the Errigal models began.
In the space of a day, Noel’s post had reached over 100,000 views and had been re-tweeted over 250 times.
Noel was amazed by the response and to his surprise he was contacted by the mother of one of the ‘models’.
“Neither of the couple are on Twitter, I got in contact with them through their family members seeing the post.
“The mother of the young man had commented on the photo. She is from Cork but the young man has now relocated to the Dunfanaghy area.
His brother in London also saw the post. Then before you know it, the couple contacted me through Instagram,” he said.
Delighted with the photo and amazed by the interest it had generated the couple agreed to meet Noel on his next venture to Donegal.
Noel plans to frame his print and gift it to the couple the next time he sees them.
“I hope to visit Errigal between Christmas and New Year. I have arranged to meet the couple to give them a copy.
“The whole thing was quite amazing when you think of how many people saw my photo. People picked up my request to try and locate the Errigal models and responded positively to that. It just goes to show you the internet and social media can be used for the good,” he said.
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