Climber captures stunning images of “broken spectre” on Scottish peak


A CLIMBER captured stunning photographs of his own shadown in the centre of a circular rainbow thanks to a rare trick of the light on a Scottish mountain.

Allan Donald took the incredible images of a “broken spectre” near the top of 1,214m (3,983ft) Ben Lawers, Perthshire.

The weirdly beautiful effect only happens when sunlight coming directly from behind the observer hits the upper layer of a cloud beneath them.

The stunning image was captured near the summit

Allan, 46, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, said it was the best broken spectre he had witnessed.

The electrical engineer and keen amateur photographer said: “It’s not the first time I’ve seen one but it was the most impressive.

“It was an amazing sight, the most vivid I have witnessed in 12 years of going to the hills.”

He added: “As we were nearing the summit we could see the sun trying hard to burn through the cloud.

“Then, all of a sudden the cloud level dropped below the summit ridge and with the sun at our backs it was perfect conditions for a brocken spectre to appear.

“I looked out across the sea of cloud to see my shadow with a rainbow-like ring around it .

” It was quite a spectacular day.”

Allan Donald captured the amazing weather phenomenon

The phenomenon gets its name from Brocken, the highest peak of the Northern German Harz Mountains, where it was first recorded.

Also known as a Mountain Spectre, it has been used to explain the Big Grey Man, a creature believed to haunt the summit of Ben Macdui, the highest peak in the Cairngorms Mountains.

The rainbow effect is caused by sunlight entering the water droplets in the cloud and, by diffraction, “bouncing back” towards the observer.

Amazingly, even if they are part of a group, the observer will only see his or her own shadow.