A few weeks ago, I went on one of my regular trips to Scotland, via the Lake District. I only stopped off overnight in the Lakes, in both directions, looking out over Ullswater, so didn’t get an opportunity to explore photographic opportunities. I also only stayed one night in Glen Coe, but did manage to spend some time in Glen Etive, a side glen of Glen Coe, with Buchaille Etive Mor looming over the glen at its junction with Glen Coe. The weather wasn’t at its best, but it did enable me to get some shots of the real Scotland, in its more usual conditions than the calm serenity typically portrayed in photographs. This made the perfect conditions for moody black and white images. I don’t often do black and white conversions and I deliberately set out with black and white in mind even less, but on this occasion it seemed the obvious choice, so I spent more time than usual in Photoshop as a result, to get the best out of the images.
The reason for travelling this time, was to attend a special weekend at the Aigas Field Centre, where I frequently visit, sponsored by Swarovski Optics, with special guest Johnny Kingdom. Accommodation is fairly basic, in log cabins, but the cabins are heated, so are plenty warm enough, except in the coldest of conditions. The food is exceptional, with breakfast and packed lunches, followed by a three course evening meal to restaurant standard. The weekend itself was very stormy, but we were able to take a rather rough boat trip, before the conditions deteriorated too much. There were good views of nesting seabirds on the cliffs of the Cromarty Firth, including razorbills, puffins and black guillemots. The weekend was ended by a ceilidh, with story telling and singing.
For a change, I spent a few days doing my own thing after the weekend, so that I could explore the grounds. I had hoped to see a fishing osprey, in the small loch in the grounds, but it wasn’t to be. However, I did get some nice, extended views of a willow warbler, that seemed very curious of me, as it flew around me in circles, stopping off on bushes and trees to view me. I was also able to watch it try to catch some insects, if unsuccessfully. Walking through the surrounding upland moorland enable me to capture some of the views from the hill fort, with both Beauly Firth and the mountains surrounding Glen Cannich and Glen Affric visible.
While I didn’t take as many photographs as I usually do while visiting, I was very pleased with some of the results, making it a productive week, not to mention enjoyable. It was nice to be able to relax a bit while I was there, after the stresses of work.