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The most essential item in my kit bag

by Darren

You’ll hear a lot of people talking about kit.  For some reason it’s not something I’m always that comfortable with – sometimes I’ll refer to it in a post here, or tweet about it if I’m using something new for the first time, but come up to me and ask me how much a lens cost and you’ll get no more than a grunt.  And that’s if you’re lucky!

However, I am going to tell you in this post about the most important piece of kit that any wildlife or travel photographer should have in their bag.

This monastery sits part way up Montserrat, a mountain in the Catalonian region of Spain.  There’s  a much more famous monastery further up – Santa Maria de Montserrat.  Santa Maria is quite the tourist trap and when I visited it as part of EuroFifty earlier this year we didn’t even have time to find a parking space amongst the coaches, cars and bicycles that had all wound their way up the mountain.  I’ve promised myself that I’ll go back at some point.

The Benedictine Abbey is not just famous for it’s magnificent architecture and stunning views from the top of the mountain.  Santa Maria is the home of the famous Black Virgin, a carving of the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ which is believed by some to have been carved by Saint Luke in approximately 50 AD.

In Arthurian legend, Montserrat is claimed to be the place where the Holy Grail was discovered.  Heinrich Himmler went there in 1940 to try to find it and claim it for the Nazis.

Which neatly brings me back to my opening point.  The building you see above took several frustrating hours to identify via the internet.  A quest of epic proportions, almost like a Grail quest!  The problem was, although I had it with me, I forgot to use that essential piece of kit when taking this photograph.  A notebook.

The monastery by the way is Sant Benet, and it’s believed to have held the remains of St Valentine from 965AD.

When I go back, I’m definitely going to visit.  After all, I’ve already hunted the entire mountain for it!