For those of you who have seen my earlier posts you will already know I am a big fan of the landscape of Scotland, particularly the Highlands and Islands.
The aim of Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is to promote Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity, and promote ways in which visitors can enjoy the beautiful landscapes, wildlife and heritage responsibly.
I have been photographing Scotland for many years and will be again this year. To celebrate this special year I am going to share with you a few of my favourite images from my trips.
To start with with we’ll visit Ardnamurchan (the hill of the great sea) Point. It lies at the tip of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and is the most westerly land on the British Isles mainland. Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is a significant aid to navigation at sea and is dominant on the horizon for miles. It takes some effort to get there involving at least 30 miles each way down single track roads unless you do what I did on my visit and caught the small ferry to the Isle of Mull to save returning over the same road even though it is certainly worth at least a second look.
Moving on further up the coast to Wester Ross, probably the area I like the most in the whole of Scotland. Wester Ross is one of the most remote and beautiful parts of Britain – many say the world. Largely unpopulated and surrounded by high peaks and sea lochs, the area is recognised as one of Europe’s last wildernesses. The image below shows Slaggan Bay, which is at the end of an unmade road, just over 3 miles away from the main road. Slaggan was a typical crofting village which at one time had a school and teacher. However by the time of the second world war the population had dwindled to six. As you can see from the image just as I arrived at the bay the weather changed with a storm coming in off the Atlantic. Whilst this made great conditions for photography it did mean I got absolutely wet through on my way back.
Over to the Outer Hebrides now and the Isle of Harris in particular revisiting Huisinish and a walk along the coast I will never forget. It lies at the end of a 12 mile long single track road. Nearby, and to the north, lies the uninhabited island of Scarp, abandoned in 1969. A few hundred yards north from the white sandy beach at Hushinish and seen in the image below lies a narrow stretch of water between the mainland and the island of Scarp.
Further north again to Sandwood Bay in Sutherland. To reach the bay involves a 8 mile round trip walk. Said to be the most magnificent beach in the British Isles. It offers over two kilometres of wide pinkish sand backed by huge sand dunes and a loch, and is flanked by cliffs and an impressive sea stack, Am Buachaille, seen below. It faces north west, straight into the teeth of the worst the North Atlantic can throw at it. For majesty and grandeur, there’s is no where that can beat Sandwood Bay.
You will no doubt have noticed that I have a preference for visiting the wilder and more remote locations but for our final destination we head back south to an area just north of Glencoe. You wouldn’t believe that this image was captured within a few yards of a reasonably busy road on the way to Fort William. The Pap of Glencoe lies at the western end of the Aonach Eagach ridge, directly above the point where the River Coe enters Loch Leven. The Pap has a distinctive conical shape particularly when viewed from the west,and forms part of the “classic” view of the entrance to Glencoe. This image was captured at the end of a frustrating day, chasing the light without any success and then the light suddenly changed for a short while, allowing me the time to capture one of the most popular images in my portfolio.
You can now, no doubt see why 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland. I am sure some of you, like me, will be visiting Scotland this year and I hope you are fortunate enough to visit and enjoy at least some of the wonderful landscapes that I have been able to visit.