June 19, 2019

Highlands & Skye Private Tour

A photographic journey of the Western Highlands and Isle of Skye

Over the last week, I have been running a private tour with a client. I’m going to share a few images from the tour as well add a few experiences. The tour was a request from a client to visit the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. The trip lasted 5 days in which we managed to fit in over 20 really good locations.

It’s key when running a photography tour to have options available to cope with bad weather. The five days saw the weather change from pouring rain to brilliant sunshine. With a bit of patience and some good planning, we were able to work locations to get a nice set of images.

West Highlands

Our first couple of days were very similar to the West Highland Landscape photography tour which this year takes place between 25 and 27 October. Leaving Edinburgh in gorgeous sunshine we travelled westwards toward heavy dark clouds. Throughout the trip, I was using the Dark Sky app. This is a great little tool as you can see a live radar view of precipitation in the area. This allowed us to take an informed decision to wait out heavy rain at the Falls of Dochart to capture this lovely location a few minutes later as the clouds started to break. The rest of the first day was spent around Rannoch Moor and Glen Etive, where the order of the day was waiting for good light to appear.

Day two started with an early morning call to capture the sunrise at Buachaille Etive Mor. The journey from our hotel to the base of the mountain was in extremely low cloud cover. The entire Glencoe mountain range wasn’t visible until we arrived at the location. Just as the sun rose high enough to light up the mountain face a small gap appeared in the clouds allowing a really nice atmospheric image of this well-photographed peak.

By breakfast, the sun had started to shine and we were treated to a glorious morning at Kilchurn Castle with a stop en route to photograph the Three Sisters along Glencoe. By the time we had returned to Glencoe the dark clouds had started to roll in. We could see that there was an odd gap in the clouds and a bit of patience led to the famous Lagangarbh Cottage being lit by sunlight with heavy rain clouds overhead. After dinner, we headed back out to capture Castle Stalker, also known as Castle Aaargh in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. The clouds were again helpful giving us some lovely colour.

The road to Skye

The third day of the tour was a travelling day from the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. We started with a trip to Glenfinnan in time to capture the 10:45 crossing of The Jacobite steam train. Just before crossing the Skye Bridge we had a quick stop at Eilean Donan Castle. One of the first locations you’ll arrive at on Skye is the Sligachan Bridge. This is a real tourist draw and it’s hard to get a clean shot. However, a short walk upstream and past the first waterfall, you’ll soon find some empty photogenic waterfalls. The penultimate location of the day took us to Fairy Glen – a great time to visit as there were only one or two tourists walking around. Our final location took us to the North of the Island and Duntulm Castle which we photographed from the rocks hidden at the foot of the grass in front of the building.

Isle of Skye

Our first full day on Skye took us to a nice little waterfall close to Uig. The Falls of Rha is just a five-minute walk from the main road. There are hardly any signs pointing visitors to them so you can pretty much guarantee to be on your own to snap the falls. The overcast weather at the time helped to make the light perfect for long exposures. A short drive away, the Quairing Viewpoint allowed us to see for a few short minutes most of the Trotternish Ridge. As the Dark Sky app was telling us the Trotternish Peninsula was going to be overcast the rest of the day we took a drive to Coral Beach near Dunvegan where the sun was shining and lighting up the white beach. Our final location of the day was a beautiful pastel sunset at Neist Point, the most westerly point of the Isle of Skye.

The final day of the trip took in a couple of my favourite locations on the island. Our first stop of the day was at the beautiful Talisker Bay. The key to this location is to arrive at low tide so that the rounded rocks are visible. Despite the traffic around Skye being really busy, we had over an hour where there was nobody else on the beach. This was perfect as it ensured that there were no footsteps on the sand as we worked as a team moving from the back of the beach to the water’s edge. Our end location was the small fishing village of Elgol. The rolling waves create a wonderful opportunity for long exposures. Five hours later we arrived back in Edinburgh satisfied with a great weeks shooting.

If you’d like a tailored photography tour by Rich Dyson LRPS drop a mail to contact@edinburghphotographyworkshop.com . Please sign up for the Edinburgh Photography Workshop monthly newsletter where you’ll get regular updates on interesting things happening in photography and some great tips. Sign up by clicking here.

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