Skye’s the Limit: Sligachan

Bridge at Sligachan, Skye, ScotlandAs we took our usual annual vacation over to England to see the family I also took the liberty of booking 5 days by myself on the Isle of Skye to take photographs.  I’ve seen many dramatic pictures of the Isle over the years and feel like I missed the chance when I was younger and studying in Glasgow.  Not that I would really have appreciated it back then and I certainly would have taken no more than snapshots.  This time I was going to be serious and get up for the 5.00am sunrises and stay out for the 10.00pm sunsets.  Not too much sleep to be had.

The problem was that it was not only our kids that were on school break.  The island was BUSY!  The only place which seemed available to book at such a late point was a caravan close to the Old Man of Storr.  It was fairly reasonable and would suit my needs so I booked it.

I flew to Inverness which was much closer in my head when I booked it than it was when I was driving it.  I also had to switch back to the other side of the road which was a bit nerve-wracking after having been driving on the right for the last 22years in the US. The drive there took a lot longer than I had imagined but I was getting sidetracked with places of interest.  The clouds were casting amazing shadows over the mountains and at every turn there was a shot to be had but I had to keep driving.  I arrived at 7.30 after asking several friendly neighbors where the place was.

Sunset was not great that night and I was a bit fed up.  It was worse when at 4.30am it was still pouring with rain.  At 6.00am the rain started to die down and I could see some blue starting to peek out, so I quickly ate a sandwich from the Co-op, drank a coffee and headed out.  The clouds were spilling over the mountains and into the fields where the sheep seemed oblivious to such a glorious sight.  I can’t recall ever seeing something like this in real life before.  I grabbed my wellington boots (yes, I brought boots over from the US for this) and waded into the muddy field.  I got several shots but they don’t show how crazy the reality was as wave upon wave of cloud spilled over the looming mountain with blue sky peeking out at the top.  The rain started again and I decided to head over to the first real stop which I had seen in my guidebook “The Photographers Guide to Scotland” by E. Bowness (this was really useful for the trip) which was the old bridge in Sligachan.  Looking south you can see the mountains of Glamaig, Marsco and Sgurr Nan Gillean.  There was a lot of cloud when I arrived and I was checking different compositions when the sun peeked through the clouds and for a few minutes lit one mountain in the center of my shot (Glaimag I think).  I was so pleased.  As a photographer you need to take the good days with the bad and keep trying.  On this day, the bad weather opened up briefly and provided light, a focal point and also very dramatic clouds. I loved this moment!

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