Sunday, 31 October 2010

Loch Tulla revisited

I have been a keen amateur photographer most my life and have worked all over Scotland. When digital cameras came to the fore, I had a job that involved travelling in excess of 1000 road miles per week. Those journeys were made tolerable by my passion for photography and the countryside that I travelled through. I had many detours from the beaten track and caught the Scottish Landscape in many of her different moods. I have literally thousands of photographs spinning silently away on my hard drive. I intend using this blog to hopefully let others see the passion I have for the landscapes that I live in

Over the next few weeks I hope to cover the Rannoch Moor area which has long been a favourite area for me to walk. I enjoy the solitude that the peat bogs bring, the silent reflections often seen on the still lochs and the panoramic views from the mountain tops. Its what inspires me to live and to create.

Here are a few more photographs of Loch Tulla from different times of the day and year. If I have a photographic style, it must include mountains reflected on still waters.

The third photograph in this series inspired me to do this watercolour painting

Friday, 29 October 2010

Loch Tulla and the autumn colours

Sadly, my inflatable boat journey around the Summer Isles was to be my last for the season. I am very much a fair weather boatman and the morning frosts and short days of late autumn don’t inspire me to venture onto the seas. It will be the spring before I inflate the boat again and set off to discover other parts of our coastline.

However, I do a fair amount of mountaineering in the winter and will keep my blog regularly updated with the landscape photographs I take around Scotland and intersperse my walks with my mountain adventures. Hopefully you will continue to follow my land adventures on foot, and sometimes by bicycle. Scotland is one of the most picturesque countries in the world and I try to do it justice with my camera.

Below are some photographs of a walk that I took a couple of weekends ago around Loch Tulla. I was trying to capture the vibrant autumn colours of our trees and hills reflected in the still waters of the loch.

Did I succeed ?
You can decide for yourself ...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Quinag and Sail Ghorm

Although the rest of the ridge to Sail Ghorm was not so exposed as the first half, it did offer some spectacular views. The narrow path twisted round the back of a steep sloping un-named summit blocking the ridge.

There are some spectacular rock formation jutting out of the ridge. This one is where the posers stand for their photograph.

Being on my own meant that I couldn’t pose and photograph so you will just have to imagine me standing on the rocky ledge on the right of this photo.

Its around a thousand foot drop straight down, just beyond the rim of this gorge carved in the southern cliffs.

The view to the north is just as spectacular. In this photograph I have zoomed in on the Kylesku Bridge. It just seems like yesterday when you had to cross by ferry but I guess its thirty years since I did that.

Finally I made it to the third main summit of Quinag. Sail Ghorm at 776 meters above sea level.

To get back to the car, I retraced my steps until I reached the Bealach a Chornaidh again, then dropped down to the path, around the lochan and back to the start point.

In all the walk was around 8 miles long and climbed a total of 3800ft, with all the ups and downs. I was glad to get home and rest my feet after that.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Quinag and Sail Gharb

The next section of my walk was where the fun really began. The assent of Spidean Coinich from the road is no more than an easy uphill walk. To get onto the other summits means an airy decent for a hundred feet or so, followed by a walk along a narrow ridge then an even longer airy descent to Bealach a Chrnaidh. I was glad there was no wind to buffet me about on this section.

Looking down from the top of Spidean Coinich to the narrow ridge section.

The start of the narrow ridge section.

Looking back over the northern shoulder of Spidean Coinich from the narrow ridge section.

Looking down to Lochan Bealach Cornaidh from the narrow ridge section. One slip and I could be swimming in it.

Looking across Bealach a Chrnaidh from the end of the narrow ridge section. You can just see the path wind its way back up the other side and onto the next top. It was not as hard as it looks from this angle, it was just a case of doing a little at a time and not looking down too much.

Looking towards Loch Assynt and Lochinver from the start of the longer airy decent at the end of the narrow ridge section. I noticed the eagle was keeping its eye on me as it circled overhead. I wondered if it though I was going to be its next meal ?

Looking back across Bealach a Chrnaidh to Spidean Coinich, its airy descent, the narrow ridge section, and the longer airy descent section. You can just make out the path on the right hand side of the photo as it winds its way up onto the narrow ridge.

Turning north from the top its only a kilometre walk to reach the middle summit of Sail Gharb which at 808 meters high, is the highest peak in the Quinag range.

From there you get a good view of the rest of the route. Fortunately it didn’t look as airy as the section I had just done.

Two summits down... one to go....

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Quinag and Spidean Coinich

I think of the mountains as a sanctuary. A safe place from the stresses of work, the ringing of telephones , the noise of traffic and modern day life in general. I guess that’s why I’m an early riser and like to do my hill walking alone,while the others sleep. I like nothing better than being alone with my thoughts, far from the madding crowds of the city.

I started the walk up Quinag not long after dawn. The world around me was still in total silence. Early morning mist was still clearing from the surrounding hills. A nip in the air kept the midges at bay.

As I gained height, so did the sun and the hills started to lighten. Unfortunately the clear atmosphere and warm lighting of the previous evening had turned into a flat hazy grey light which didn’t do my photographs any favours. I took this photograph looking towards Castle Ardvrek and Loch Assynt, from the first false summit en route to the top of Spidean Coinich.

An eagle circled silently overhead as I looked southwards towards Suilven. Its body weight suspended effortlessly between huge stationary wings supported by the updraft from the northern cliffs.

I could now see the true summit of Spidean Coinish looming about another four hundred feet above. It took me a lot more effort than the eagle to reach the peak.

Peering down the gully of a sheer one thousand foot drop, I guessed I could beat the big bird to the bottom but knew I would never make it back to the top if I did entertain such a suicidal race.

At last I made it to the top of Spidean Coinich, the first summit of Quinag. I stopped for a sandwich and to breath in the views from the cairn.

Looking across the landscape from a height of 764m, I could see it was very much a wilderness area. The morning mist still hid many of the nearby highland glens. I felt on top of the world as I though to myself... One summit down ...two to go ...

Monday, 18 October 2010

Loch Assynt, Castle Ardvrek and Quinag

I then made my way from Lochinver to Loch Assynt and Ardveck Castle. Loch Assynt is the freshwater loch which features in my Blog heading logo. I took that photo four years ago and I was lucky to catch the last of the early morning mist clearing the loch. The mountain on the right hand side of the loch is Quinag and it’s always been in my mind to hill walk the long ridge that joins the three corbett summits of Spidean Coinich, Sail Ghorm and Sail Gharb.

Quinag from Loch Assynt

Quinag from the road to Lochinver

Loch Assynt islands

Loch Assynt and Ardvrek Castle

I set up camp for the night at the start of the walk over Quinag and watched the sun set behind the mountain, hoping I would be walking on its summits in the morning

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Inver Polly Nature Reserve

The Inverpolly Nature Reserve has long been my favourite area in the whole of Scotland and the drive from Achultiebuie to Lochinver along the single track coast road is a sheer delight on a sunny night. I could not ask for better weather for my journey north .

The lowering sun cast a golden glow through the crystal clear atmosphere, illuminating the landscapes with perfection. A photographers dream except for ....the midges.

Rather than bore you with words, please look at the following photographs and you will see why I love this area so much.

Ben Mor Coigach from the shore at Achultibuie

Ben More Coigach from Loch Osgaig

Ben More Coigach from Loch Bad a Ghaill

Stac Polly

Cul Beag

Stac Polly

Suilven from Loch Buine Moire

Cul Mor

Suilven from Loch Culag