Skip to main content

Forgiven and never forgotten


I find that the Highlands has an annoying habit of giving me shit weather for the biggest part of my stay and then on my final day, the sun comes out and the blue skies reappear which is more than enough to entice me to come back again. A day of blue skies in the Highlands is a day to remember for a very long time. It made me forget all the rain, dark and miserable skies, mists, soakings, invisible seal colonies, non-existent coral beaches, nearly being blown across to Iceland and the rest.

I still remember my first trip up here which must have been 10 years ago, it rained and rained and rained for two days solid and I hated the place but then on my trip back down, the weather broke and the bug hit me. The mist rose at the southern end of Loch Linnhe revealing the majestic splendour of Glen Coe. I was so impressed and over-awed by the place that I drove through it, turned round and drove back down and then back up again! The journey down over Rannoch Moor and Loch Lomond really showed the Highlands in their true splendour that day.

Anyway, true to form I woke up to sun and blue skies on my last day in Gairloch and bearing in mind the poor weather I'd had up to press I decided to make the most of my trip back down to Cumbria. I left the hotel at about nine in the morning and didn't arrive back in Cumbria until nearly nine at night.


My first stop was Badachro, a little hidden gem just a bit farther down the coast from Gairloch. The area has long been renowned for its cod fishing, and Badachro's growth was as a result of that. When the fishery was in full operation much of the cod landed at Gairloch was dried at Badachro before being shipped to markets in Spain. Today the area's main catch comprises lobsters, crabs and prawns: and the piles of lobster pots on the jetty suggested that it was still an active base for fishing vessels. Most of the vessels on view were leisure craft.

 Reluctantly I started my journey back down. The weather was so calm that the reflections on the Lochs just jumped out at me.  I stopped off at Loch Maree on my way to Torridon to take some photos but unfortunately the sun was wrongly positioned, it was more of less straight in front of me. There was the most beautiful picnic area, right on the loch shore and gave absolutely stunning views down towards Slioch.

After Loch Marree, it was a right turn into Torridon. What a difference a couple of days made, the last time I drove along the glen I saw absolutely nothing but this time all the tops were clear and they looked so impressive as the towered above me. The quartzite summit of Beinn Eighe (below) shone in the sun whilst Liathach conveyed an aura of impregnability as the slopes appeared to rise up from the roadside in a series of near vertical rocky terraces. It was a beautiful day for reflections as well with Upper Loch Torridon looking like a mirror.

The view down Upper Loch Torridon was just as beautiful if not quite as exciting.
The point where the road leaves Torridon and heads round to Sheildaig is another favourite spot of mine. The first time I came this way I approached from Sheildaig and the weather was like it was today. The scene as I rounded that corner surpassed anything I could ever have imagined. The hills, the Loch and the bay are just set out perfectly and I found the same scene today just as enchanting. It's a place you never want to leave when the weather conditions are like this and I sat on one of the handily placed rocks for ages, just taking the scene in.

Reluctantly I left Torridon for the fishing village of Sheildaig, stopping for a few moments before heading towards Loch Kishorn.

 An unexpected photo stop by Loch an Loin was a must as was a detour into the small villages of Ardarroch and Achintraid with their superb view across Loch Kishorn to Beinn Bhan and the Beallach na Ba. Time was getting on as I arrived in Lochcarron so I just continued around the Loch towards the Kyle of Lochalsh, only stopping at the viewpoint above Loch Carron to admire the beautiful view.

 I had been on the road a fair few hours and thought I needed some sort of break so I pulled in at Eilean Donan Castle where I had a Cappuccino and a last laze in the sun. Then it was a familiar route which went through Kintail, past Loch Cluannie and then up and over into Glengarry and on to Fort William. I had thought about spending the night in Fort William but the forecast for the next day was terrible and quite frankly I'd had enough rain these last seven days so I just pulled into Fort William to break my trip before hitting the road back down to Cumbria. My final photo below is of  Loch nah Achalaise in late afternoon sun.

The drive back to Cumbria was helped with the new extension to the M74. No more bun fights on the M8, you hit the M74 just after Glasgow Airport and you are through Glasgow in no time at all. I arrived back in Cumbria at about nine at night, feeling rather weary but I'd had a fabulous day and looking back, a pretty good holiday.


Gairloch Harbour


Badachro


Badachro


Badachro


Lochan reflection


Loch Maree


Loch Maree and Slioch


Beinn Eighe, Torridon

Upper Loch Torridon reflection


Upper Loch Torridon reflection

Upper Loch Torridon reflection


Upper Loch Torridon reflection


Upper Loch Torridon reflection


Upper Loch Torridon


Sheildaig


Sheildaig


Sheildaig


Sheildaig


Loch an Loin


Loch an Loin


Achintraid and Loch Kishorn


Ardarroch and Beinn Bhan


Loch Carron viewpoint



Eilean Donan Castle, Kintail


Eilean Donan Castle, Kintail


Loch nah Achalaise in late afternoon sun



Popular posts from this blog

Wharfedale

These are just a selection of photos I took a few weeks ago. The first bunch are of Linton Bridge and the River Wharfe just outside Grassington. The concrete retaining walls of Linton Mill by the side of the bridge now support a housing development called ‘Linton Falls’. A corn mill has probably stood on this site from Medieval times. In 1788, Robert Hargreaves & Co of Addingham built a worsted-spinning mill there. Soon after a new tenant, Samuel Gill, and until 1804, his partner James Parker, turned the mill over to spinning cotton. By 1830 it had returned to worsted spinning under the ownership of J & W Birkbeck. Birkbecks then built a five-storey cotton mill on the site in the mid-19th century. This mill burnt down in 1912 and was replaced by a smaller structure. This went out of business during the 1950s. It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river. Prior to demolition, the mill’s rare uniflow steam engine was rescued an…

Derwent Valley, Castleton and The Devil's Arse!

I had this day out and took these shot's at the beginning of June when all the rape was in bloom in the fields above High Bradfield. The cloud cover was kind to me as well, letting the sun burst through intermittently,  lighting up the yellow fields beautifully.

I love this area which is on the edge of The Peak District and can't thank Sal enough for introducing me to it. The view over Bradfield Dale to the distant Derwent Edge is one of our favourites and has to be one of the loveliest in the area. Coupled with this are a pair of nice pubs, a beautiful Church and a brewery which makes Bradfield an ideal stopping off point. No pubs for me today though.

Sal had often mentioned The Derwent Valley so I thought I'd go and have a bit of an explore and then drive on to Castleton. The moor road over to the main A57 passing Strines resounded with the call of the Curlews so I presumed it was their mating season. I love their call, it is an unmistakable, plaintive, and lonely …

The Old Brown Horse :

On the minor road to Scarness Bay in Cumbria, there has been a small stable where 2 two horses have lived for years. On passing it the other week with Dave and Chris, we noticed an R.I.P sign and only one horse. He or she looked so sad and forlorn.

As shown in it's eyes, it was obviously missing it's old mate. Thanks to Sal for the verse which it is rather apt.





The Old Brown Horse :

The old brown horse looks over the fence
In a weary sort of way.
He seems to be saying to all who pass:
“Well, folks, I've had my day-
I'm simply watching the world go by,
And nobody seems to mind,
As they're dashing past in their motor-cars,
A horse who is lame and half-blind.”


The old brown horse has a shaggycoat,
But once he was young and trim,
And he used to trot through the woods and lanes
With the man who was fond of him.
But his master rides in a motor-car,
And it makes him feel quite sad
When he thinks of the days that used to be, and of al…

Swinsty Reservoir

With the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales becoming increasingly more popular, its good to know that you have quieter places on your doorstep where you can escape for a few hours. Swinsty Reservoir and Fewston Reservoir in the Washburn Valley are such places. Obviously they get busier at weekends but midweek they can be havens of tranquility with robins, blackbirds and bluetits never far away and always singing their happy tunes. Mind you at Swinsty,  the geese and ducks which congregate by the picnic area can make a right racket but these can soon be left behind.

Sal came with me today and it was the first time she had been in the area. Give her a camera, a bit of nature and she will disappear in to her own little world. Come to think of it, that's exactly what I tend to do as well. I think we compliment each other, I usually see the landscape opportunities whilst she see the more creative and quirky things which I tend to miss. I am told that I'm getting better at spotting them these…

Out with the old, in with the new.

Nearly two years ago I decided to buy a mirrorless four thirds camera as my DSLR gear was getting a bit too heavy to carry about when I was out walking in the Lakes and Dales. I plumped for the Fujifilm X-T1 which was marketed as being an enthusiasts camera i.e. you can use it in manual, aperture, shutter speed modes as well as the normal program mode where everything is set for you. It was a brilliant camera and everyone raved about it but, try as I may, I never really got on with it. And I did try, I tried for nearly two years to like it.

I think my problem was that there was just too much on it. There were dials here there and everywhere and frequently I would accidentally move one which would either overexpose or underexpose my photos plus lots of things were menu driven as well. For example if I wanted to take a close up photo I would have to troll through the menu system and turn the macro setting on and then do the same to turn it off. For someone who is as blind as a bat and…

To Lochinver via Coigach

Again, I don't really think many words are needed for this blog. The photos tell the whole story of one of the best drives in the UK.

The route chops and changes from mountain to coastal and back again and is possibly the best section of the Wester Ross Coastal Road. I was fortunate enough to be at Gruinard Bay when the tide was out so I more to less had the whole beach to myself, th the mighty An Teallach (widely regarded as the best hill in Scotland) towered above me as I drove down through Dundonnell.  Then it was through the Dundonnell River gorge and across the Dundonnell Forest to Loch Broom and Ullapool. Even Ullapool looked good with the morning sun and blue skies. I hardly met any traffic at all from the moment I left my hotel on the shores on Loch Maree which meant driving was a sheer pleasure.

The last section of the route through Coigach to Lochinver is the reason I keep visiting these parts. It may only be about twenty miles in length but it goes through what is, in m…

Icy Morning on Coppice Pond

After a few days of gloomy weather, it was nice to see the sun in the sky again and, as usual for this time of year, a clear day means a frosty day. I was on my way to do some shopping so just popped in to St Ives to stretch my legs and give the camera an airing.  There was plenty of wildlife about: squirrels, robins, jays, ducks, geese and swans but not the elusive heron. I haven't seen it up there for months, you can usually spot in on the island hunting for its food. Maybe it has found easier pickings elsewhere.

All the autumn colours have just about disappeared now but I did find an oak tree which had the full range of colours on its leaves. I think I managed to capture a few nice shots with some being a bit different from the norm so the visit was worthwhile.