Photographer shocked camera which fell off cliffs found by abseiler 

Dr John Thomson lost his £3500 kit after a gust of wind blew it off Mangersta cliffs on Harris.

Camera which fell off Mangersta cliffs retrieved by abseiler and returned to owner nine months later TwitteriStock
Discovery: Cliff Hands found the battered equipment nine months after it fell of Mangersta cliffs.

A photographer has been left shocked after an abseiler retrieved his camera nine months after it accidentally fell off a cliff edge on Harris.

Dr John Thomson from Aboyne in Aberdeenshire was on a photography trip to Lewis and Harris in September last year with his local camera club. 

While preparing to set up a shot using his tripod, a gust of wind blew the 50-year-old’s equipment, worth around £3500, over the edge of a cliff.

John told STV News: “​​I was on a Deeside Camera Club trip to Harris and Lewis last September and arrived on Harris on the Saturday and was due to be there for a week. 

“On the Monday morning we had been to the Callanish stones then went to Mangersta. It was really windy and we walked down to the cliff tops

“I set up my tripod a few metres from the edge. I bent down to get a lens cloth then heard a friend shout ‘No!’

“As I looked up a gust of wind had blown the tripod over which then slowly slid off the cliff edge and out of sight.”

Despite efforts to retrieve it, the camera had fallen too far and John was devastated to have lost his images taken during the trip. 

He added: “I climbed down part of the cliff but it was too dangerous to continue. One friend managed to locate it with a long lens on his camera but there was no way to get to it.”

Cliff found the battered camera months after the accident Twitter
Cliff found the battered camera months after the accident

But months later, Cliff Hands from Dunfermline, Fife discovered the battered and bruised equipment while abseiling into Mangersta sea stacks to take shots for his YouTube channel during a photography holiday. 

“While descending down the cliff I noticed a tripod at first but didn’t notice the camera attached until I got closer,” the 49-year-old said. 

“After a 24 hour shoot at Mangersta I returned to the cottage, had a look at the camera and realised there was an SD card still inside, had a look for owners data but to no avail. 

“I posted the image and location of it being found and within two hours on Twitter the photography community came together along with so many kind folk retweeting it, the owner contacted me with all the right relevant answers to what was on the camera and what tripod he had lost.

“In all hindsight I would be totally gutted if this happened to me!”

Cliff discovered the camera while abseiling on Harris. Twitter
Cliff discovered the camera while abseiling on Harris.

John was shocked to learn that his camera had been retrieved by Cliff and was delighted to learn his photographs from the trip were still intact on his SD cards. 

“I couldn’t believe it. Then I heard that Cliff had abseiled down when he found it,” John said.

Cliff has promised to send John the SD cards retrieved from the camera so that he can enjoy the photographs he took before the accident.

“I can’t wait to see how the pictures are,” John added.