Scotland, until recently a country I had never fully had the chance to explore. This all changed when 3 friends and I planned a 2-week road trip through some of the most beautiful parts to explore this wild country. This would give us plenty of time to experience its grand vistas, majestic mountains and of course the unpredictable weather that Scotland is known for that can leave you in awe with stunning light coming and going in a matter of moments or nearly being swept off your feet as 50mph gusts of wind whip across the landscape. One thing is for sure it’s a trip I’ll look back on for a long time, and a country I’ll be visiting again shortly. This is a little blog on some of my favourite spots from the Isle of Skye.
The Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is perhaps Scotlands best known Island. It has recently seen a huge increase in popularity with large amounts of tourists visiting to witness its stunning scenery and dramatic coastline. Our first spot was to visit the Old Man Of Storr, an iconic rock formation to the North-west of the island. Not to be perturbed by the 60mph gusts and horizontal rain we hiked the 45-minute path to the Storr. On arriving the conditions couldn’t have been more difficult for photography. However, we persevered, getting a few shots where my lens wasn’t covered in water. The weather didn’t stop the boys from trying to get creative. Scotland was already showing off its patented mood.
Our second spot of the day was Brothers point, a lesser-known but beautiful bit of coastline on the easternmost point of Trotternish. There’s a small parking spot and to reach the path you cross the street and walk south approximately 100 meters. It’s a short hike and not very busy at all until you reach the coast, and there’s plenty of wildlife in the air and sea to grab your attention on the way, from cormorants to seals. We explored the area for a little while before a rainbow appeared right over the point. The fast-changing weather of Scotland is incredible, if you stay in one place for long enough you’re sure to experience some insane conditions. Just make sure you bring a full set of waterproofs and some warm clothing so you can stick around to experience it. You won’t be disappointed.
Allt Dearg Cottage
With the weather rolling in on our second day we decided not to head out on any long hikes, as the rain was constant. Therefore we headed to a few better-known spots, that didn’t require us getting absolutely battered by the elements to get the shot. We headed to Allt Dearg Cottage, a famous white cottage located near Sligachan. There is parking about 500m from the cottage which is visible from the road. Scotland has these picturesque white cottages everywhere you go, but few have such an incredible backdrop of the Cuillins. Not a bad back garden I suppose. The mood was heavy as we walked up the road to the cottage making for some lovely images of this place.
The most common wildlife we saw on our trip were deer. There are two species native to Scotland: red deer and roe deer. They are fairly tame which allows you to get close even without a telephoto however I would still recommend it. After spotting a buck along the side of the road we decided to hop out and go photograph it running around the moors. As soon as we reached the first ridge we noticed there were about 5 bucks all together which was amazing. We spent the next 30 minutes grabbing some snaps of the deer without disturbing them. It really was a surreal experience being so close to these beautiful animals.
On our final day on the Isle of Skye we got a small weather window and decided to hike to the Camasunary Bothy. This is one of the nicest Bothys we stayed in on the trip and we had the whole place to ourselves! We set out alarms for 5 am to tackle Sgurr Na Strii for some breathtaking views over Loch Coruisk and the Cuillins. However, as you come to realise with Scotland things never quite go to plan. We awoke to heavy hail and sideways wind, so decided to grab 2 more hours sleep before we set off. Luckily at 7 am the weather has subsided (a little) so we set off. Soon the escapades began as we had to cross a river to reach the path. Going in 2’s we held onto each other for support and dealt with the freezing cold water to reach the path up Sgurr Na Stri. We definitely wouldn’t have managed that at 5 am in the dark! The climb was fairly steep and we faced all the different types of weather Scotland could throw at us before reaching the top, but it sure was worth it. Loch Coruisk is surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Cuillins and is quite isolated meaning you won’t be seeing many other people unlike a lot of Skye. After getting some nice photos, we had to endure another crazy hail storm, before the clouds finally lifted and we had some blue sky.
This was an epic way to cap off our trip to the Isle of Skye which had thrown everything at us. The only thing in the back of my mind was getting back across that freezing river and into the Bothy to warm up.
So that’s it. A little recap of our trip up north in Scotland. I couldn’t recommend it more, it’s a beautiful part of the world. I hope this blog inspires others to visit and see these amazing places first hand, just be prepared to experience 4 seasons of weather!
Pete is a 25-year-old freelance photographer from the South Coast of England. Driven to explore new places and meet new people, he loves to capture authentic moments on his travels. Check out his work at: www.instagram.com/pete_ell or www.pete-elliott.com
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