Tag Archives: Scotland

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Ancient Islay, Kilnave and Kildalton

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Grave slabs, chapel and cross at Kilnave

It’s not just the birds that draw me to Islay, it’s also very rich in ancient history and has some of the best preserved  Christian high crosses anywhere in Britain.

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Islay geese : Black and White

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So here’s the set from the last post but in black and white, with a hint of selenium. Think I know which one I’m going with. The colour set can be seen here.

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Islay Again and the Geese

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Back to Islay and the geese. The aim was to place them in a wider context and I was fortunate that the weather was with me (seems like it’s not been very good since then). The mornings were superb and straight out of the van I was able to work with a perfect backdrop and the geese coming over the waters of Loch Indal. Trying to work them together is not such an easy task, focusing is all against you and the focusing spot had to be continually adjusted.

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Islay whisky

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Sherry and Bourbon casks at Bunnahabhain

Islay’s about the perfect destination in winter if you love both geese and a good malt. For such a small island it has a wealth of fine distilleries and they are wonderfully located. Eight distilleries in such a compact area all responding to the natural characteristics of the island.

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Islay landscapes from the north

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Dawn at Port Charlotte – view from the VW van

Back on Islay and some of the landscapes. We were fortunate in having some really fine light and looking at the weather that’s around now we definitely hit a little purple patch.

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Islay Geese 3

Continuing on the theme of context within the experience of seeing the geese on Islay are this set.

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Islay Geese 2

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Following on from the previous post this set once again aims to give a sense of the broader context in which the geese are experienced.

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Heading South – The Final Chapter

A day late we headed south and the weather didn’t let us down – it rained! By now we were wanting it to, better to be able to say we had seventeen days with rain, heavy at that, on every single one of them.

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Handa at Last!

We woke to rain, nothing unusual about that, but the van wasn’t shaking and it just felt stiller. Looking out to Handa was just too much, we had planned to move back south today but being opposite the island and now with the possibility that today the boat just might run, we had to give it one last shot. We could move down south a little quicker it was a chance we had to take. It had even stopped raining!

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Scourie -1

We knew that Handa was a ‘no goer’ today but we still went down to Tarbet where the boat leaves from in more hope than anticipation. Met the boatman coming back in his van, “not a chance today, tomorrow not looking good either”

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Further North to Scourie

Leaving Ullapool we travelled up to Scourie and another impressive site, one I’d not stayed on before. You couldn’t really get much closer to the sea here and overlooking Handa, which was to be our last hope of visiting a single off shore island on this journey to Scotland.

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Ardmair – 4

We then started the return journey back towards Ullapool and again the weather closed in but was so blustery there was a chance that we could get the odd break in the clouds before the next downpour.

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Ardmair – 3

After lunching at Reiff we headed south to Achitibuie to look back towards Ardmair and past by the best school bus stop I’ve ever seen. Just imagine standing there waiting for the day to begin!

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Ardmair – 2

The ‘mad little road’ was empty and very wet but as we moved out towards Achiltibuie things began to clear and the wind began to get up.

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Ardmair – 1

Ardmair was to be our base for the next couple of nights. The last paragraph of my diary entry for our first day sums up what was to be another long but ultimately rewarding day,

…so all in all saw a great sunrise, a magnificent sunset and 16 hours in between which gave very occasional glimpses of the sublime.

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Firemore to Ardmair

 

We’d had one of those extreme moments within the landscape, when something transcendental occurs.

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Firemore Sands

There’s always a highlight to a trip like this and we were about to experience it here. Very heavy pulsing showers had accompanied us up from Kinlochewe and continued into the late afternoon when we arrived at Firemore.

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Kinlochewe to Firemore Sands – 2

….and so north again, past Slioch and Loch Maree and up toward Gairloch and Poolewe before heading out along the west side of Loch Ewe.

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Kinlochewe to Firemore Sands – Loch Ewe -1

The weather deteriorated today, if that was possible and the showers got heavier and the wind increased.

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Kinlochewe… and a bit of a disaster!

 

It never rains but it pours!

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