Saturday, 9 November 2013

ULLAPOOL in November

Going to Ullapool for a week of photographic therapy
Five guys on the road north :- Arthur, Phil, Gordon, Martin & Myself
Drove for 95 miles in the rain, well it wasn't raining all the way, it was snowing when we were going over Drumochter.
The weather forecast for Sunday ( photo day one ) :- NOT LOOKING GOOD
Look on the bright side :- The fridge is loaded and there's darts on the telly

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Sunday Nov. 3rd
Loch Achall ( just east of Ullapool ) in the rain is not a pleasant experience. The forecast said there would be showers and there were showers, heavy showers of rain and hail, it only lasted long enough to get us really wet then the sun came out for a while then the rain came back on just to stop us from drying out too much, we did manage to get some photography in-between the rain showers, which were intense but didn't last long, we also upset the estate owner by having our car on her road and as she was more than up for a fight so we decided to let Phil deal with it and she drove off with  "I'm going to have words with Angus" ringing in our ears
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Monday Nov. 4th
Day two of the Ullapool week started with a 05:30 rise and out the door at 06:30 for a drive to Achnahaird Beach under the guidance of local photographer Angus Bruce. Sunrise was at 07:30 and what a fine sunrise it was for all the colour junkies in the team ( Arthur, Phil, Martin & Gordon ) rising behind Stac Pollaidh, Cul Beag & Cul Mor in a blaze of orange. We spent all morning on the beach amongst the sand dunes and rocky shoreline ( had better mornings but not many ) .
After the regulation cup of tea and a biscuit we made our way to Loch Lurgainnand to a couple of locations shown to us by Angus, NOTE TO SELF :- When you are wearing chest waders remember you are wearing a jacket or your pockets will fill up with water.
From Loch Lurgainn we headed to Lochinver for some lunch at what might be the best pie shop in the world but must be the most expensive pie shop in the world, then back to the coast at Achmelvich Bay for a final fling before the light vanished.
A good day was had by all thanks to a bit of local location knowledge supplied by Angus and some good weather for photography.

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Tuesday Nov. 5th
Monday evening the forecast for Tues. was the worst day you could ever imagine
Monday night the forecast for Tues. was good in the morning and turning bad early afternoon so we had another early rise and off to Loch Assynt.
The early light was stunning, Phil, Gordon & Martin took up position at some pine trees in the loch while Arthur & Myself stayed further down the loch at some tree bound islands.
As usual I ended up a hill just to see what was there and as usual I found some trees growing in some strange places. As predicted the weather closed in and the colour junkies decided to call it a day but I stopped at Loch Awe and Arthur and I spent another hour and a half enjoying the driech overcast weather as only a mono worker can, Arthur had no choice cos it's my van.

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Wednesday Nov.6th
Angus took us to Loch Glascarnoch & Dirrie Mor a twenty minute drive from the cottage to photograph some exposed ancient pine stumps and maybe get a sunrise ( the colour junkies control the time table ). The sunrise didn't transpire but we spent half a day with some old wood and a wee drop rain, there are dozens of old tree roots all over the place some in groups and some singles spoiling us for subject matter, five of us taking photographs and no two using the same stumps, not bad!
A quick cup of tea and we were off to Mellon Udrigle Beach for a couple of hours. It's a nice beach with good sand dunes and unusual rocks and boulders all over the place but the distance travelled to get there and what was on offer photographically didn't really make the journey worth while.
 Having said that we still had a good day out with Angus showing us locations we would otherwise have driven past.

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Thursday Nov.7th
Another early rise at 05:00 Angus is showing Arthur & Myself the easy route up Stac Pollaidh while Gordon &Phil head to Garvie Bay. We arrived in the car park around 06:30ish, still seriously dark and Angus is handing us head lamps ( thinks :- is this a good plan ? ). It's a bit rugged at the start says Angus then it flattens out a bit where we are going to take photographs, Angus, Arthur, Myself and Connie the Cairn Terrier set out in the dark, up a mountain, (Angus says it's not a mountain but trust me, it goes all the way to the sky ). Arthur & I are still waiting for the bit that flattens out when the going will get easier. When we arrived at the "flat bit" it was still dark which was the plan and when the light broke behind Cul Beag spilling pink light across to Suilvan was pretty special

but it didn't last long, within half an hour the sky had shut down and spoiled the view.
Worse was to come, Angus suggested that because it is so early why don't we head up to the ridge Yea OK. Off we set in formation Angus, Connie the terrier, Rab & Arthur and we stay in that formation Angus, Connie,. . . . . . . . . .Rab & . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Arthur, did we make it to the ridge? YES! if a wee dog with six inch legs can do it so can we. Did we stay there long? NO! some serious weather was coming our way, a wee flash of light and a rumble in the sky put paid to our time on the top then came the snow, BRILLIANT! Back down the mountain "Angus, it's a mountain"
and who was waiting there? the lonely boys with some lame story about rain at Garvie Bay. At this point the sun decided to shine getting our hopes up for a good afternoon, no no no no no no, it didn't rain again but it wasn't very photograph friendly, Phil & Gordon went back to Garvie Bay while Arthur & I went to the east end of Loch Lurgainn doing the fence in the water with the grey sky shot. We had another good day and the climb up Stac Pollaidh was well worth the effort.
Thanks Angus you almost killed us.

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Friday Nov. 9th
Last day in Ullapool and we decided to use it as a catch up day shooting the stuff we had wanted to but had missed for whatever reason, needless to say it didn't turn out that way. It was wet all day.
Went to Loch Assynt early and it was overcast then when the light came up it started to rain and it kept on raining with the occasional break of between two minutes and half an hour the two minute break was by far the more frequent. If we were going to take any photographs today we were going to get wet so we go wet. We had had mostly good weather all week but it was time to pay the piper and mind the tip . Loch Assynt :- raining, we went on to Loch Awe and it was still raining but we took advantage of any oasis of sunshine to take photographs, mostly got wet, stopped at the road side and it was still raining, waited for a break in the rain, got soaked, grabbed the shot and moved on, stopped at a small loch just north of Ullapool to take advantage of a bright spell and got rained on again.
Did I mention ? on the way out in the morning around 06:45ish and still quite dark a deer ran into the front/side of the van ( that was before it started raining ) I don't have the use of my drivers door anymore
Did I mention the rain ?
Inverpolly / Assynt region must be one of the most spectacular, beautiful areas in the world and Shangri La to any landscape photographer ( weather permitting )
We all had a great week long photographic holiday, stayed in a first class cottage and received some great location information from local photographer and owner our home for the week, Waterfront Cottage, Angus Bruce.
Thanks Angus
There's a good chance we'll be back

1 comment:

  1. A great summary of the week, Rab. For the most part the weather was ideal - very changeable, with sunlight breaking through the storms, and a seemingly endless supply of rainbows. Hats off to you and Arthur for making it up the hill (Stac Pollaidh). Trust me, that was the easiest hill walk in the area, with a properly maintained path and a short distance - if you fancy a real mountain, how about An Teallach next time...
    I really enjoyed the time spent with you and the others, and was well impressed by your skill and enthusiasm - looking forward to seeing more results from you all!