• Daniel Wretham

Photographing Scotland - The Highlands

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Buachaille etive mor, scottish landscapes

So I had just started my Scottish adventure by visiting the Trossachs National Park and now I was venturing north to get to the Highlands, somewhere I have wanted to visit for so long.

As I drove around Loch Lomond it never seemed to end, it was a vast loch thats for sure, but I was eager to see Glencoe as it was an area I wanted to focus heavily on.

It was around about a two hour journey to the lower highlands and I have to say, very very scenic and enjoyable, it was a Sunday and I knew Glencoe would be busy but I hadn't planned to shoot it, more to have a look and get some ideas while I drove through.

It was raining very heavily now and the sky was flat grey and the least photogenic conditions you could imagine really.

On the way to Glencoe, and just before it in fact is an area called Rannoch Moor and when I caught my first glimpse of it I knew I wanted to come back and shoot it, I had seen several winter photos of the area and it was full of small islands with lone trees popping up and I would have loved to capture some frost on them but it wasn't really that time of year yet but the area was noted.

Finally Glencoe came into view and it was simply jaw dropping, I was excited about this area and when I rounded the corner and saw Buachaille Etive Mor, my heart began to beat faster.

I had seen this mammoth mountain photographed many times before, probably Scotland's most famous after Ben Nevis perhaps ?

The shape was instantly recognisable, and if you were to draw a mountain then this is what it would look like, Sloping sides all heading to the peak in perfect symmetry. Boy did I want to get a few of this.

As expected it was tourist central and people were pulled over everywhere in any gap they could find even though it was raining very very hard people where everywhere.

I drove further on along the Glencoe pass and noted a nice waterfall which I would try and explore at a later date and then the famed Glencoe sisters came into view.

These three mountains were a sight to behold even in flat grey conditions, they towered above the valley way up into the clouds and I really wanted to shoot them. Going further down I came to Loch Achtriochtan which was joined by the River Coe.

It was simply wonderful seeing these areas with my own eyes, I had seen thousands of pictures and knew what to expect but I still wasn't fully prepared for the majesty of Scotland.

As said before I hadn't planned to stop mainly due to the poor weather and the fact there were tourists everywhere (I'm very aware I was now one as well) So I continued north heading towards Inverness and was treated to even more stunning sights along the way.

Loch Leven is a fairly small loch in comparison to others but it really was beautiful and I wanted to visit it during my weeks stay. It joined on to the far bigger Loch Linnhe which was essentially an inland sea and it was vast but not as photogenic in my opinion.

Driving further up to Fort William saw Ben Nevis coming into view and again I really wanted to visit here but hopefully at a much quieter time.

Next stop was Fort Augustus which signalled the start of the mighty Loch Ness and there was a small area of moored boats and half sunken ones which looked very interesting and I knew a return was on the cards.

I had been told to avoid Loch Ness as it was possibly the least scenic loch in Scotland and I have to say, that was a pretty fair description of the area BUT there were still some gems to be had and I wasn't going to discount it just yet.

Loch Ness whilst most famous for its possible resident the Loch Ness monster, or Nessie as it was affectionately known did in fact hold a much more realistic and interesting claim to fame, Loch Ness is the second largest loch in Scotland by surface area and covered roughly 22 square miles, it's a long thin body of water with various bays and areas of interest.

It's big claim to fame however is it's depth, it's the second deepest Loch in Scotland but because of the depth and surface area it actually holds more fresh water than ALL the lakes in England & Wales combined, Now that is pretty mind blowing ! Maybe it could well hide Nessie, who would ever find her there ?!

Whilst driving along the endless shore of Loch Ness I noticed an old rustic and dilapidated jetty which was noted for future visits and of course the famous Urquhart Castle which was once again filled with tourists and rain.

Finally after much driving (Around 6 hours and a few hundred miles) I arrived at Inverness and couldn't wait to relax and plan my adventure.

The following accounts were over a 5 day period, some days I spent in other areas that I will cover later on like the Isle of Skye and The Cairngorms national park but for the sake of this blog I am just sticking with the Highlands.

Looking at the weather it re