Monday, 17 October 2016

A week on Harris & Lewis


A month early this year, myself, Spud,Martin,Gordon & Phil armed with all that would fit into my van and Gordons car set off at 23:30 Friday night heading for the Isle of Harris, share a cottage for a week and blow the place apart with some fantastic photography ( well that what we told ourselves ). The ferry left Uist on the Isle of Skye at 09:20ish Sat. morning 1hour and 40 mins. to Harris and a 15 min. drive to our home for the next week in the 'village' of GEOCRAB. 
Unpack when it's dark there's pictures to be taken, first stop Losgaintir beach about a 15 min. drive from the cottage, this beach has a bit of a reputation and yes as beaches go this is a big beach but for me, if you drive to the car park at the end of the road the beach there ( name unknown ) is better with spectacular sand dunes a great skyline and it goes on forever


We spent most of the rest of the day here but as expected my 4 companions who will be known as the colour junkies from here on wanted the traditional sunset at Losgaintir so that's where we ended up at the end of the day and if it happens then it's worth the wait


The first drive back to the cottage in the dark on single track roads which wind like a drunk snake kinda keeps you alert and you will be ready for food when you get home
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 Sunday :- Day 2

Early rise and a drive in the dark to the small island of SCALPY which is joined to Harris by a bridge and get the first of the three lighthouses done, parked the cars and walked about a mile to the lighthouse, yea pretty good location and well worth the visit


The lighthouse buildings are all derelict now but worth exploring for photographic gems ( of which there are plenty ) and a short walk along the coast presents you with some great angles on the lighthouse. On the return from the lighthouse there are various derelict buildings and ship wrecks all of which deserve some time, only problem, the morning light at the lighthouse didn't last and by the time Spud and myself were exploring some wrecks the sky was pretty grey and what little light there was didn't reach where we were but with a little perseverance we left with some OK shots. The plan was to go from there to Huisinis but Spud and I didn't make it that far coz we stopped at what turned out to be an old whaling station of which there is only the chimney left


We called it quits there coz Spud had NO BEER and wanted to get to a shop before they all closed
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Monday :- Day 3

Today was total tourist day
You can't go to this part of the world and not visit and photograph the standing stones at Calanais, ( well some of us can't ). we got there just after 9 Spud had a quick look about and decided there was a derelict house more interesting so off he went, next was Phil, he had a quick look about and decided he needed a latte and a bun and we didn't see him again until we were leaving at about half past 12. we've all seen the photographs of these stones but I thought this was not a bad, simple shot


Martin thought the same and I think Gordon did as well ( so much for being creative ). After a cuppa and and a bite we descended on another stone circle called Cnoc Fillibhir Bheag or ( Calanais 3 to the non Gaelic speakers ), this time in the company of Spud & Phil ( glad you could join us guys )
This site is not fenced off and is in a grazing field so the area around the stones is pretty well chewed up by cattle but still worth the walk


While we are in the area we might as well visit the Caroway Broch and the Black House Village where there are opportunities for selective close ups, then the sky went into overdrive and I was off up the hill looking for some interesting foreground just to get the sky in a photo. ( the jury is still out on that one )
To end our tourist day out the colour junkies wanted another sunset and we ended up at Horgabost beach, I don't do sunsets so I shot another standing stone and another drive home in the dark along the snake trail


This is known as the MacLeod stone and it overlooks the beach at Horgabost

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Tuesday :- Day 4

Yup, you've guessed it, it's another early rise and a drive into the unknown for the sun rising, this morning we are heading south to the bottom of the island to Rodel ( the colour junkies have a plan  :  NOT ), they did what they had to do in the dark, crossed their fingers because we had never been there and I think they were a little disappointed with the location ( crossed fingers always let you down ) Rodel has a quaint wee harbour which might have been ok if the tide had been inand a lovely old church which is worth a visit. Back on the road and the car had already gone when we left destination unknown, when we eventually met up we were asked  Is Martin with you ? answer No, OOPS we better go back and find him then. Back on the road and Spud and I stopped at an old derelict house which looked promising only to find it was shelter to about 50 years worth of sheep dung, 2 dead sheep, some sheep skulls, various sheep bones, an old cooker and some pots & pans, a quick shot of the cooker with the pots & pans then we were gone. East coast for a cuppa and a chat

Couldn't resist this after the house of dead sheep

We ended up back on the fabulous beaches on the east coast for the rest of the day and yes we started the day in the dark so we finished the day in the dark

This is why I don't take sunsets

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Wednesday :- Day 5

Ah Wednesday, a get up when you waken day then a drive to the top of the island to the Butt of Lewis, ( there are three lighthouses and we are going to do them all )

This is number 2

There's a lovely small bay just along the road from the lighthouse which lends itself to a bit of creativity if you can let your head off the leash, there's also a finger stac just by the lighthouse but the sun will only ever light the top quarter so getting a successful photo is a real challenge but you've got to try ( did it work ? don't know yet ! ) There are some great cliff top views and wee coves to explore so we spent the whole day doing just that.

Spud getting wet trying to be arty ( was it worth it ? he didn't say )

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Thursday :- Day 6

Our whole week seems to be up for the sunrise drive about to random places then back to a beach  for the sunset and Thursday was to be no different only this time the colour junkies did some homework ( well Martin looked at the map on Wednesday night and said well go there it's looking straight out to some small islands and the sun should come up right in line, and it did !


I've got to say it was worth the early rise and the location at Loch Ceann Dibig was ok ( well done Martin )
We came across a shed with the legend Alan MacAulay Boatbuilder this place hadn't seen a boat for a lot of years but when we were looking about for " interesting stuff to photograph " we were shoo'd off by the owner, I tried to reason with him and told him we're no gonny nick anything we're Fifers but he wasn't having it so we were back on the road with a sneeky wan for devilment. By this time even Spud had had enough of the sunrise malarky so when the guys were back at Horgabost beach we headed back inland on another mystery tour and came across a smashin we stone built with a red roof in the middle of nowhere


Martin has been looking for this shot all week but he's on the beach ( nae luck Martin ). Spud and I were back at the cottage early so it was feet up, telly on , can of beer :- BRAW
Apparently it was a spectacular sunset ! but we got the wee hoose

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Friday :- Last day

Last day, last lighthouse. The weather had been great all week but today it was heavily overcast and the wind was blowing a hoolie, undaunted we were off destination Stornoway and over to Eye Peninsula where the lighthouse doubles as a boarding kennel and cattery, 


this must be the most scenic kennels/cattery in the world, we spent probably half a day here but the wind was horrendous so we decided to call time and head back down to Geocrab with stops along our map identified 2 sea stacs neither of them was worth the stop and there was always the chance of being blown over the cliff, the next stop was marked as a chambered cairn which might have been 500 years ago but now it's a circle of stones,

 had enough ! going home ! 

Any body thinking of visiting Harris should know one thing
SHEEP HAVE RIGHT OF WAY
They are everywhere, take care in the mornings , they sleep on the road.

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Saturday :- Going Home

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DISCLAIMER :- All the images on this blog are shot on my compact specifically for this bolg and should not be regarded as proper photographs ( coz they'r in colour )


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Glen Shee to Linn of Dee

We are heading off on our annual jaunt to the Isle of Harris in a couple of weeks so I thought I might be better dust the summer cobwebs off the camera and get my photographers eye back in so I took a trip north to Glen Shee through Glen Clunie to Braemar and the Linn of Dee, flying solo because my pal Spud is in Oban with his wife ( something about their anniversary ) cummon Spud where's your commitment. Didn't stop in Glen Shee but once past the ski lift and into Glen Clunie there were a lot of stop/ look/ nah,  stop/look/nah,  stop/look/nah but quite a few stop/ look/that'll do




 This trip turned into a bit of a roadside safari ( not ready for hills yet ) but no complaints road side through CGen Clunie and from Braemar up through the Mar Lodge Estate provides plenty photographic opportunities within 100 - 150 yards ( that's about 90 - 140 meters for the young ains )  off the roadside




On the way up through the Mar Lodge Estate I saw an old bridge crossing a dry river bed and thought I might pay it a visit so it was road end at the Linn and back down the other side to the old bridge, sorry to say it was a wasted trip, it looks great from the road up but when you get there " as so often happens" nah, so if you are ever up in that area don't be tempted it's not worth the drive. The Linn of Dee however is a truly impressive example of water erosion and when the river is in spate the noise must be deafening, worth a trip even just to see it.
Today I ODd a bit on the roadside landscapery but it is a great run and like I said the photo opportunities are plentiful if you keep your eyes open
Defiantly a worthwhile trip

Rab.K

Monday, 23 May 2016

Not A Photographic Post: But one for the future

Just been on an Island Survival Weekend Course in a beautiful part of Scotland :- Moidart

 Morning in the rain
Half an hour before sunset

Two of the views from the island we were stranded on

The weekend started on Friday night with an overnight camp in a wooded area on the land owned by Wildwood Bushcraft and it was basically  a meet and greet the other participants in the course before the course started proper on Sat. morning, then it was 07:30 rise for a 8am Canoe ferry to our home for 2 days with no food but a survival expert to keep us on the right track, showing us what was edible :- limpets ( raw or cooked ) encouraged to try both winkles, mussels and every type of seaweed you can imagine, home made bannocks for breakfast made with flour, water and stuff stuff being seaweed. How do you light a fire in the rain :- with difficulty, but it rained a lot so it was a handy skill to learn. Fish for tea then lets go fishing in the only bit of the sea with no fish in it, luckily for us Leon the survival expert must have known there were no fish in the sea coz he brought one for each of us which were gone in a flash.


How to get off our island home, :- build a bloody raft and paddle it, you'r having a laugh, nope, there's the makins lads get on with it, we did no a bad job if I say so myself, the buoyancy wasn't great so it was wet arse time but it stayed together and it stayed afloat. ( the wet arse was from testing it coz none of us opted for the paddle to shore on it, not totally daft )



Met some great folk and had a great weekend "surviving" so thanks to Wildwood Bushcraft for that and I plan to go back in the spring on a photographic trip coz it is a stunningly beautiful location.

         Rab.K 



Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Tunnels Were Calling

I paid a visit to the abandoned railway tunnels at Glenfarg a while back but for some reason I never even thought about taking a torch, duh ! 




So torch in pocket I went back today, there are two tunnels each about a five minute  walk through and it is surprisingly quite a pleasant walk, when you are in the middle of each tunnel you can see the light from both ends so there is a bit of comfort for the feard in the dark squad and once your eyes get accustomed to it there is actually quite a lot of light and you don't really need a torch, a fact which was brought home to me when a family of five wandered through walking their dog with no torch which was the last thing I expected to find, don't know what I did expect but it wasn't that. There is also quite a lot of graffiti some of it very poetic and some of it just graffiti, the phantom scribbler leaves his mark in the dark for nobody to see.




I knew the torch would come in handy
Had a pleasant afternoon and it's a walk I would recommend, even if it's just to say you have done it

      Rab.K

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Loch Tulla & Loch Dochard

My pal Phil regularly asks " what's the plans for the weekend Rab" and my answer is always " no plans Phil depends on the weather"  Saturday is messages day and Sunday is camera day ( yea I know and I can hear you say WHAT !! ).  Well this is where it started, Friday night weather forecast BRAW all day Sat. and RAINING all day Sun. ( everywhere ), what does one do, after about 4 seconds I decided to put aside tradition, ASDA got the dicht and it was camera Sat. Up at 5am out the door at 6 with no fixed destination, up the middle to Aviemore/ Cairngorm area or head west to Glen Coe area, flip the mental coin, came down tails so went west. Nearing Tyndrum I was back in decision city, go north to Bridge of Orchy or peel off west and head for Loch Awe, what's happening here, I only wanted to take my camera for a walk and then I've got all these decisions to make, it's not right. up went the mental coin again but by the time it came back down I was past the junction for Loch Awe so fate carried the can for my day at Loch Tulla and Loch Dochard ( good choice fate ). I've been to Loch Tulla a couple of times last year and it is a great photographic location which I would recommend to anybody ( even Phil could get some good photographs there ) there is snow on the hills and I got there before the breeze so the loch was mirror calm, it is very easy to be seduced by the landscape all around you and forget what you are there for, on a good morning it is really special and worth the early rise and the 2 hour drive.


Moving on from Loch Tulla I went for a walk to Loch Dochard ( not been there before ) 2 hours later with a couple of short stops behold Loch Dochard, I knew it was going to be a bit of a hike but it was a smashing day and I thought if I only get one good photograph it will be worth it ( I can here Phil saying YOU'VE JUST WASTED 2 HOURS ) the loch itself is nothing to write a song about but the surrounding landscape is stunning, I may have two photographs which are OK but a wasted 2 hours 


DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT

Rab.K

Sunday, 28 February 2016

One Frosty Morning
Made the trip to the Trossachs with my pal Spud, freezin cold, bright, sunny and not a cloud in the sky and that is the downer for photographers and in particular B&W photographers, you see we like clouds not "CLOUDS" but some wee gentle things dotted around to keep the sky interesting, not today ! But you gotta make the best of what's on offer starting at Loch Venachar, there was not a drop of wind, the loch was mirror flat and the reflections of the snow topped mountains were unbelievable

                                         


needles to say we spent a couple of hours moochin' aboot looking for gems before we headed to Loch Arklet for hopefully more of the same but there was a covering of ice on most of the loch which killed any reflections and still no wee fluffies in the sky but the four mountains which form the skyline at the west end of the loch were covered in snow and in the sunlight were quite spectacular, ( a wee reflection there would  have been nice but na too much ice on the loch )

                                         


At one point overcome with the desire for the elusive wee gem, the boots and socks were off, breeks rolled up to the knees and in we go, the wee gem is still out there somewhere but the freezin' water woke up my toes and my knees and it goes without saying, ma breeks weren't rolled up far enough so I spent the rest of the day with cold, wet legs, should know by now there is no such thing as a wee gem but the search goes on.

Home in time to make the wife's tea, have a bottle of beer then an hour on the couch.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Sunday Jan.17th
Loch Tulla

Thought I might get some good weather for a day out but .. the usual overcast skies was forecast and the forecast wasn't wrong, but ...with a bit of snow about I thought it might be worthwhile to go where the snow was and I had a very pleasant day on and around Loch Tulla in Argyle & Bute. Got there about 10am the loch was frozen over there was snow on the ice and there was enough earl sunlight to make it a spectacular morning ( not sure about the photography but the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful ) My pal Spud and I were here in the early autumn and we thought it was OK what a difference some snow makes.
The early sunlight vanished late in the morning but when you don't use colour flat lighting with snow and stuff is a joy to work in, no worries about casting shadows then trying to Photo Shop them out, everyday walk past, take no notice of things take on a new and interesting shape when they'r covered in the white stuff

and you can return to things you've already photographed ( and got some OK photographs I might add ) knowing you are getting something new


Had a very enjoyable 4 hours at Loch Tulla, it's a 2 hour drive from home but well worth the effort.                 Just for the record both these images are colour files straight from camera

     Rab.K