Stopping a while on a Scottish Isle...
Updated: Aug 20
I arrived at Inverness Airport the morning before and stayed overnight in Ardersier prior to my lunchtime flight to the Isle of Lewis. Loganair 153 took off on time and tracked northwest over Ullapool before a left hand turn delivered some beautiful coastline views on approach to Stornoway.
There are no bus services on the island on Sunday but I had planned to walk the few miles into town anyway. It was blustery and rain was in the air so I turned my collar to the cold and damp and headed down the airport road. Before long a kindly couple offered me a much appreciated lift to the doorstep of my B&B and I settled in to download and catalogue images while wondering what tomorrow's walkabout would bring.
Muted tones of overcast skies may hold many challenges for a photographer but they also have their own subtleties to be explored, something my circuitous path around the harbour and down to Arnish Point would soon reveal.
Isolation is a gift when we have a camera over the shoulder, broken only by the nods and hellos of a handful of other travellers. Streams, hills, trees and ferns, monuments, boats, ships and burns all become subjects for the lens. Rugged coastal scenes and carpets of heather accompany me to the Bonnie Prince Charlie monument and onwards to the solitude of the deserted lighthouse standing tight lipped over the lives and deaths it has witnessed.
The walk back was punctuated by brief moments of sunshine and a trip back down to the harbour later that night delivered some night time images which always have a charm all of their own.
Morning was bright and warm. I stopped off at the harbour on my way down the bus station in good time to catch one of the four daily cross-country rides out to the west of the island. Next stop Callanish, where I would experience the mysterious presence of the Standing Stones. Erected some 5,000 years ago, the only way to really appreciate the human timescale which puts our own brief personal existence into context is to stand in amongst them.
Once there I had to work fast in the ten minutes before clouds, some heavily laden with water, obscured the sun but they served as a dramatic backdrop for a number of studies of this stunning Neolithic work of human ingenuity.
The cloud cover seemed to synchronise with more people arriving so I moved on to traverse part of the area around Loch Ceann Hulabhaig which offered up a few more gems for my memory card before making my way back to Stornoway for my last night prior to heading off to the mainland again.
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