Skye in Fall - The Isle of Skye
This post is a long time in the making, not the post itself, but the photos taken in Scotland on the Isle of Skye. It took me several times, retries and a fresh look to really get the photos where I wanted them to be. I still think I can improve here, but sometimes you just need to let it go and this is probably also valid for this post as well. I need to get this done, so here goes!
See all photos enlarged at the end of the post
The Isle of Skye was on my wish list for a few years, however I never really explored the means to get there or the costs. I thought the only way to get there was by boat from The Netherlands to Scotland and then drive, to save costs and go with my own car. Still I thought this was a costly trip and therefor it did not materialise. So why now?
I revisited this trip as a present for my father's 65th birthday. My father in the past year has started do more and more photography. I do not know if he asked or it was my interpretation, but in my mind he wanted to join me on a photography trip to get into the adventure of photographing epic landscapes. I guess he was triggered through my trips to Iceland. Well knowing Iceland, who doesn’t want to go there. I will certainly go back there, but that is a different story for a different time.
So when the time came, just around the birthday of my father in fall, I planned the trip to the Isle of Skye. Taking advantage of the ever cheaper flight tickets, we flew from Amsterdam to Inverness, picked up the rental car and drove towards the first destination - Loch Ness.
Day #1 - Loch Ness and travelling to Skye
Leaving the airport in a right hand (it’s weird) drive car, we were ready, set go for our four day trip. However within hours you sort of get used to it. The plan was pretty much leave Inverness as soon as possible and head towards Loch Ness. This was taking the long way round to Isle of Skye, but that was ok. We pretty much had all afternoon as we left the airport at 13:00h.
Arriving at Loch Ness we immediately were treated to the diverse Scottish weather. From sunny skies, to clouds, rain and back again. This will, for the next coming days, be epic to photograph. Changing skies, means changing light, means great photos, as long as it is not grey and dull.
Loch Ness itself is small and long, quite interesting. We saw people enjoying the water, swimming, sailing and fishing, but no monster though. The small hills and fall colours really sets the surrounding area apart from the black water of the Loch itself.
Continuing our trip towards the Isle of Sky it really started to rain heavily and it only just cleared when we arrived at Skye. We took some time to explore the direct surroundings of our place where we will stay for the coming days. We found a great view from Skye towards the main land. This first day could not have started off better.
Day #2 - The Old man of Storr & the Quiraing
The second day started of with some rain during breakfast, but it seemed that the sky cleared up when we started our drive towards the old man of Storr. Arriving at the bottom of the old man of Storr the skies looked still a bit grey, but the sun was not far away.
We started the hike towards the top. It was a great hike, but due to the rain the days before it was a slip and slide challenge. However the view at the top and the clouds breaking at the same time was absolutely epic.
On the way back we took the long way round back towards the car. We walked around the pillars of the old man of Storr. It was quite magnificent. The weather still was changing very quickly, from sun, clouds to rain again.
Along the route towards the Quiraing we stopped at a small cliff or drop off from the farm land towards the sea. This was beautifully lit by a combination of sun and rain clouds in the distance. Which made for a typical Skye photo with lots of drama in the sky.
Next stop was the Quiraing. As part of the Trotternish ridge it has been formed by a massive landslip which has created high cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock. Choose a clear day and bring your camera, because we did!
Arriving at the Quiraing we were treated to clearer skies and beautiful golden sunrays. This special light was there till the end of the hike and really was a perfect end of the day. The hike itself was quite easy ending up towards the higher part of the Quiraing, we did not walk the whole loop, as the sun was so nice at this part of the trail that we needed to take more photos.
On the way back, what a place! The drama can only be seen in black and white I guess. In retrospect I think this was the most interesting and inspiring hike of the days on Skye. Would love to come back and do the whole loop.
Day #3 - Rain
Well day three is here and boy this was the one day you always expect, but never want. It literally rained the whole day, except just before sunset, when we visited Neist Point.
Before arriving at Neist Point we were heading towards the Fairy Pools, at foot of the Black Cuillins near Glenbrittle the Fairy Pools are beautifully crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle. However it was raining, well storming you could say, so no point in walking or even photographing this place, sadly.
So we decided to push on and head towards Neist Point. We wanted to be there just around sunset, but the weather was just not going to clear. So we did some exploring and scouting for the next day. On the way back the sun just peeked through for a second, but that was basically it.
Day #4 - Neist Point
This day was solely meant for getting that sunset shot at Neist Point and exploring the surrounds or Neist Point. When we left it was grey, man really grey and for a second we thought this day would not clear up, but boy where we wrong. However at the start of our trip we decided to stop and photograph the surroundings of Sligachan Old Bridge.
This is a great Old Bridge at Sligachan (where you can have nice comfort food after a long day outside in the Skye weather) plus it's was a gateway to Cuillin Mountain and Great Waterfall. We did not hike up the mountains as the weather at that time was not in favour of long hikes.
So, onwards to Neist Point with hopefully, better weather and an epic sunset. We had time to spare when arriving at Neist Point so we explored the surroundings. Neist Point is one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland and can be found on the most westerly tip of Skye near the township of Glendale.
While the walk down is an easy one, the concrete path does get quite steep at times. From the path you will see stunning views of the high cliffs and the lighthouse itself, at sunset the view is made even more spectacular making this a top destination for landscape photographers.
There is only the one safe route, so this walk uses the same path both ways down and back. It covers a distance of 2.2km, with the average time to complete the walk being 45 minutes (with no stops). More time should be allowed for exploring at the lighthouse and surroundings as there are many photos to be made here.
Heading back up the path towards the cliffs the sun was slowly setting and the skies were epic with dark clouds and a bright yellow sun, making the sky from dark blue to golden yellow and all other colours.
This was the end of our four days at Skye. I wanted to stay longer, but maybe in early spring I will revisit this place, because it really got under my skin, just as Iceland did. However this is nothing like Iceland.
All photos were made with the Fujifilm X-T2 and the 10-24mm, 35mm and 55-200. All packed in my trusty Lowepro Flipside sport 15L and with the Mefoto Globetrotter tripod. I do recommend bringing some good polarisation filters here as light can be harsh. I can recommend the Haida CPL, not that expensive and really good quality. See here.
Enjoy the rest of the photos and the drone shots and video with the DJI Spark will appear in a next blog. Click on the photos to view them in fullscreen.