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Intrepid explorer captures spectacular Scottish scenery

January 10th, 2018
Madeleine, watched by her dog Jack, takes a photograph of Loch Quoich in the Scottish highlands.

An intrepid 12-year-old Monmouth student has been recognised nationally after photographing a spectacular glacial scene in the Scottish highlands.

Madeleine’s eye-catching image from the top of Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich has won her a top prize in a competition run by the Geographical Association.

The Monmouth School for Girls’ pupil took the stunning picture during the summer when he climbed the mountain with her parents and pet dog, Jack.

She entered her photograph and a written narrative into the Physical Geography Photograph Competition and was runner-up in the Years 7 to 9 Landscape Story section.

Now Madeleine has been invited to the Geographical Association’s Awards Ceremony at Sheffield Hallam University on 5th April and will receive a prize from Páramo Directional Clothing Systems.

Fellow Monmouth School for Girls’ student Eden, aged 13, impressed with her photograph – and written submission – of Llyn y Fan Fach in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

She was Highly Commended in the same category as Madeleine after securing a prize for finishing third in the competition 12 months ago.

Mr Nick Meek, Head of Geography at Monmouth School for Girls, was delighted with the excellent entries from both students.

“The images of landscapes captured by our two keen geographers are exceptional,” he said.

“The department is a firm believer in supporting national competitions and encouraging students to participate because they promote enquiry and challenge students to explore new issues and places.”

In her submission, Madeleine captured the glacial landscape scene from the top of Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich (1027m), Loch Quoich, in Scotland.

“I’ve visited Loch Quoich many times,” said Madeleine.

“I climbed Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich at the beginning of August, and that was when I took the photograph.

“My photograph showed a deep Scottish fjord (Loch Hourn, a sea loch) surrounded by beautiful peaks, including the 1020m high Ladhar Bheinn, which falls down into the sea.

“Loch Hourn is contained within a glacial trough carved out by the ice that covered the entirety of Scotland thousands of years ago. This ice dramatically raised sea levels, when it melted.”

The judges said: “The story leaves a clear impression of the time when this landscape was frozen and introduces some technical geographical terms that indicate a good understanding of the most recent processes that have forged this landscape. This is a very good landscape story, worthy of being a winner.”

Madeleine pictured at a recent computer science fair.

Eden’s photograph of Llyn y Fan Fach is an example of a landscape formed by glaciation and shows the Welsh mountain overseeing and guarding the lake.

“I enjoyed visiting Llyn y Fan Fach because it was the first time I had visited a glacial landscape, and I really liked how clearly you could see the different layers of rock,” said Eden.

“It is a good example of how valuable physical geography is to humans because this tarn is used as a reservoir and provides water for the local population.

“It proves that humans need to take notice of their physical environment, and the benefits it can provide, and not take it for granted.”

The judges said: “The title and story opening invite interest to a nicely composed photograph which gives a good sense of the semi-circular form and near-vertical gradient of the back wall of a cwm.

“The story gives a reasonable sense of how glacial cwms are formed. The photograph shows an eye for physical geography in the landscape accompanied by an effort to inspire and explain.”

Eden’s photograph of Llyn y Fan Fach is an example of a landscape formed by glaciation.
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