Some of you may have already read my post on Edinburgh. I hope that it brought some insight to that amazing city of this stunning country. This post will cover my favorite part of Scotland however. The wilderness in Scotland was really breathtaking. The only place I have seen that compares to its remoteness is Iceland. The mountains and valleys of the highlands have a really raw and wild feel. Everything just seems simpler in life when driving through the passes, taking in the world as you go.
The worst part of this trip was the massive amount of planning that we totally did not do. I grabbed three friends hopped in a car after work and started the drive north with the goal of being to the Isle of Skye just after sunrise. That totally did not happen.. We made some wrong turns and also found some other spots on the way we decided to see and barely made it to Skye at all. The drive to the Fairy pools I think in the end ran us almost 16 hours! It was totally worth it, I did not get to see nearly enough from Skye but the drive turned out to be much more enjoyable than we had planned..
We did drive I think the first ten or so hours without stopping for anything but gas. After that is where we started to get pretty distracted, stopping for our first full Scottish breakfast. We did stop by Castle Stalker but I could not get too many great photos and everyone was generally kind of unimpressed with it so we moved on pretty quickly. Our next real stop ended up being Glenfinnan Viaduct and Church. This stop was incredible and the weather was really kind to us in this spot easily my favorite stop, even beating the fairy pools in Skye. Sadly I did not get lucky and catch a train crossing the bridge like I wanted but after waiting for ages my patience just eventually broke and we moved on. I want to go back and explore the valley that the nearby Loch Shiel forms as well as give that train shot one more try..
After Glenfinnan we made a mistake that did cost us some serious time. Our GPS lead us further in the wrong direction to a small coastal town Mallaig. The GPS wanted us to take a ferry crossing to Armadale on the other side but with the ferry costing money and not leaving until seven at night that was not a good option. We decided to stay in Mallaig for food but to keep the original plan of driving. Before leaving we did catch lunch at a local pub filled with some wonderful Scottish women who nearly convinced us to stick around and try our luck though and the drive up to Mallaig was extremely pleasant as you can see below.
After backtracking through Glenfinnan, we got back on track heading north. The closer to the Isle of Skye and the more north we traveled the more dramatic the landscape and even the weather became. I think some of the best shots were had on this drive from Mallaig to the Fairy Pools in Skye. As you have probably noticed we were shooting most of the photos from windows of the car, saved us time stopping and is perfect for you guys as it shows you the views you would be getting as you were driving down the road.
After finally reaching the Fairy Pools everyone was pretty high on life after the drive but eager to stretch some legs and actually do a little walking. The weather stayed nearly perfect as you can see and the pools were a great shoot location. A friend of mine even got a little swimming in on the small cliffs!
Unfortunately, after leaving we quickly discovered that everywhere on Skye had been booked up so we would have to either rough it in the car or start our drive back and miss that extra time in Skye. The decision was made to start our drive and to head for Edinburgh as everyone but I had never been and I knew it would have a place to crash for a few hours. The drive through the night was extremely rough, everyone was tired and it was five plus hours to the city, I think we were swapping out driving duties almost by the hour to keep from passing out on the empty roads!
Even sadder when we arrived in Edinburgh no one could book us until one or two in the afternoon and it was six in the morning. Eventually, we got around this and paid to stay that night opting for a late check out around noon. Most of us really just needed a few hours for recharge and a shower so it served us well enough. I took them around Edinburgh and we even stopped in Glasglow before finishing the other half of the ride home.
I would throw in the photos from Edinburgh but I decided it would be easier to just include them in this separate post all about Edinburgh.
I really really recommend a trip up to Scotland for those living here in the UK or even in Europe. If you are a photographer it is a must see no matter where you are coming from. Just do a little more planning than we did, Skye is a much more popular destination than I had thought. That combined with its remoteness leads to interesting situations when finding a place to stay! I hope you enjoyed the post, please share this with your friends and family I can use all the support.
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