(An even further) Northern Adventure

Scott Wilson, Chris Newham and Ian Pinn go even further North!

Destination; Isle of Harris and Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Aka: A long way from home!

Date; Thursday 28th November 2013

Ian’s  stuff waiting for departure (imagine 3 times this lot!)

Venue; Nottingham Outlaws Club Room

Time; 9pm, AGM over & its time to go!

After a sharp AGM (chaired by Ian Pinn J) the car was packed and ready to go. The first night is a tradition that we sleep in the car on Rannoch Moor, just in case we get some good light in the morning, it is also plenty far enough to travel on the first night, after all we have all done a full days work as well. Arrived at layby on the River Etive road at about 4am, got our heads down but the wind and rain kept some (?) of us awake, got up to an uninspiring morning of thick cloud and rain, no shooting here.

Friday 29th November

Drove from Glencoe to Skye, a few stops en-route,

Eilean Donan at  8am…………………


Eilean Donan snapshot from the car window (yes, it really is that easy to get close) an amazing Castle that is so accessible, car park is just off the main road. We were not blessed with the best light but it would be rude to drive past this iconic location without taking a few shots. The confluence of 3 tidal Lochs can make all the difference to your images in respect of the water level and how much of the surrounding rocks are exposed. Be aware of the rising tide though if you opt to go further out as it is easy to get cut off! As you can see from the above snap the tide was well out on this occasion, allowing you to get really close to the castle, we have not had this before.

A damp 30 minutes shooting en route to Skye (approx 8am)

Setting up for a quick shoot

Then it was on to the Isle of Skye and a favourite location of Sligachan, once again access is easy from the main road, park in the Hotel car park (now closed for refurbishment) and wander across to the bridge and river. Water levels through the bridge vary depending on what rain has happened over the previous few days, our first visit here in 2011 was the best as we had torrents of water, last year was a trickle and this year was somewhere between the two. A great location though, lovely moving water with great rocks and a lovely mountainous backdrop, once again it would be rude to drive past!

Sligachan on Skye was our next stop at approx 10am, had about 45 minutes here

Sligachan looking west (a small pond adjacent to the river)

From Sligachan we drove over the Quirang and had about 30 minutes shooting here. Scott and Chris went along the ridge searching for ‘The Tree’ which clings onto the ridge, Scott managed to get a really different image of this (hopefully you’ll see it at the club this year). It was very windy and we kept getting some quite serious rain, at least it ‘washed’ the car!

Fuel and provision stop on Skye

A quick pint at Uig whilst we wait for the ferry to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris


A rare moment of relaxation whilst we wait for the ferry to Harris

We needed to get to the ferry terminal at Uig (Isle of Skye) for a 2pm sailing to Harris, after re-arranging the booking (Ian error!) we got on the ferry without delay and started the rather rough crossing to Harris. Its about a 2 hour crossing over to Tarbert on North Harris, the ferries do not run as regular over the winter months so your options can be seriously limited, we had issues of conflict with dawn and dusk shooting so it was far from ideal.

On the ferry over to Harris


Passing time on the ferry


Feeling very tired…………………….. Scary vision, don’t show the children!


Once we landed at Harris we needed to get to a location for a sunset shot, and had very little time to get there, we decided to go to Huisinis on the West coast of North Harris, it didn’t look far but the roads were very twisty and narrow (hence dangerous) so it took longer than anticipated, a hairy drive but Scott and the Beast did a good job, stopped at a lovely waterfall (Loch Leosavay) and had about 20 minutes shooting.

Spot the deliberate (?) tripod on the right hand side! (Mr Newham I presume!)

The stream that runs out of Lochan-Beag into Loch Leosavay

Then it was on to the coast which was only another 5 minutes or so away. Chris and Scott carried on taking pictures but as it was quite dark I had a nod in the car.


The steps down to the beach as seen by Chris


Beach shot from Chris

Beach shot from Scott

Beach shot from Chris

So, a full day comes to an end, off to the digs for a freshen up and some food.

Harris B&B night (Lochedge)

Fantastic digs, modern house all the mod cons and great rooms, they even did us a pack up lunch as we wouldn’t be back for breakfast, definitely recommend this B&B

Ian & Chris’s room at the B&B

Saturday 30th November

Up early and out for 5am, planned dawn shoot at Callanish Stone Circle, very difficult as 3 of us trying to shoot and light paint at the same time (reminiscent of the KK trip at Castlerigg) add into the mix is that it was VERY dark, no light pollution here. I got nothing of note but Scott got a handful.

Scotts impressive shot of the stones (considering you couldn’t see a thing)

From here we tried to find Carroway Broch, an impressive stone structure on a mound, couldn’t find it so went to the coast instead.


Dhail Mor Beach sunrise location

Organised chaos in the boot, the obligatory cup of tea before the shoot

Scott ready for the walk to the beach (that’s a torch in his hand!)-new shiny bag as well

We were greeted with a strange sight when we walked to the beach, there was masses of Sea-Foam, over a foot deep in some places and the wind was moving it like some massive monster, a bit strange especially when your’e in total darkness in a strange place with only your head torch guiding you, once through the foam we had a good shooting session on the beach.

10am, left Dhail Mor beach (Ians last shot there)



Went on to Shawbost on the coast, wild peat cutters landscape (Isle of Lewis)

A great big pile of ??????…Peat, as Chris saw it


Shawbost by Chris, landscape created by Man’s Peat cutting over the centuries

Shawbost by Chris, life’s tough in the Hebrides’



From there we then went to the Arch of Lewis (still on the Isle of Lewis)

A very rugged rocky Atlantic facing coast with great wave action but impossible to get down to sea level (unless you’re Spiderman)

The Arch of Lewis by Scott


Add in picture of Scott in the bath

A rare capture of a non landscape image

From the Arch of Lewis we then drove further North to the Butt of Lewis, a very exposed headland where the wind could easily sweep you off the cliffs (good job its mainly westerly’s). Access very easy again with a car park right next to the Lighthouse, it can be a disadvantage though as you get cars parked in your shot, can’t have it all ways I suppose.

We all wandered around looking for different viewpoints and images in constantly changing fleeting glimpses of decent light, solid bank of cloud over the horizon so no amazing sunset tonight, I think we all managed to get something though.

Where there is a very impressive Lighthouse

We stayed at the Butt of Lewis until it got quite dark, then back to the digs for a shower and change and out for a Steak and a couple of Beers


The local bar (10 miles away!) a reasonable choice of Malts on offer!!

Sunday 1st December

Leaving Harris today on the early morning ferry, sad day as we get up for a dawn shoot and then have to catch the ferry back to Uig, Skye. The dawn shoot doesn’t really work out, the GPS seems to be confused and does not get us where we want to be, a bit of a letdown really considering what dawn and dusk opportunities we had, still, always another year.

Messing about with the G10, liked the match of colours of the sky and beast

Drove the short distance into Tarbert to wait for the ferry, exploited the opportunities whilst waiting

Scott’s image of Tarbert dawn, beautiful pastel colours

Chris’s version, love those Magenta’s

The ferry

Boarded the ferry and headed for North Uist as this was an unfortunate diversion on our route back, it would now take us 4 hours.


A sad sight as Harris recedes into our wake by Chris

Channel marker, Sgeotasaigh by Chris, on the way out from Harris

Salty sea-dog Scott

Salty sea-dog Chris

Arrived at Uig and disembarked, needed now to ‘hot-foot-it’ to the Fairy Pools which is a fair distance, it was almost 12:00pm, so bearing in mind that its dark around 4pm we didn’t have long, also there was a walk to the pools involved, we didn’t know how long as it was a new location.

Arrived at Fairy Pools car park and kitted up ready for the trek, it was probably about 40 minutes hard walk, over streams and a fair amount of undulation, there are several pools and waterfalls as well as the classic, all worth doing if you have the time, Scott and myself opted for the classic whilst Chris did another just downstream.

Light quite flat but some nice low clouds, by Ian

As we got back to the car the light was almost gone, we now had a fair drive down to the Kings House Hotel on Rannoch Moor where we were staying the final night.

Stopped for some night shots at Eilean Donan (just can’t seem to drive past)

Took one or two and Scott got a nice image of a young Heron lit by the castles reflection, hopefully we’ll see this one soon.

Night at Kings House Hotel, Rannoch Moor

Team shot outside the Kings House Hotel on Rannoch Moor, what a location!

Monday 2nd December

Early start down to the classic Waterfall on Buachaille Etive Mor, conditions totally different to last year when we had ice and snow, no such luck this time. Many photographers had been before us as the path was now very well trodden and extremely muddy, wadered up and got in the river to do a few classics.

Stood in the pool for about half an hour to get this-Ian


Packed up about 9am and had our last breakfast at the Kings House.

Just the 7 hour drive home now. Another fantastic trip, thanks to Scott and Chris for the great company and Scott for the driving.

Here’s to next year

Ian Pinn