This is part 2 of my Isle of Skye trip report/location guide. Please see this post for the first half.
Neist Point lighthouse is the most westerly tip of the Isle of Skye, and probably the longest drive I had to make to any of the locations on my trip. The westerly orientation make this an ideal spot to photograph at sunset. I was aiming to get there an hour or so before sunset and stop for some food on the way, however it soon became apparent that there weren’t all that many pubs/cafes once off of the main road (for info, the Red Roof Cafe, in Glendale, was the final food serving establishment en route to Neist Point (and I thoroughly recommend their “Gamekeepers Ploughmans”!)). That left me with a good couple of hours at Neist Point which was more than enough time to take a walk down to the lighthouse and back up to the cliffs to determine a decent composition.
Having been lucky with the light earlier in the day, at The Quiraing, I was further rewarded with a fantastic sunset:
I hung around until the sun had completely disappeared and took a panorama of the deep orange horizon over Uist.
The next morning was to be my final sunrise session of my trip, and after a couple of mornings getting up a couple of hours before sunrise, I decided to spend the morning very close to my hotel, around Sligachan, affording myself a relative lie-in. I had spent the previous afternoon scouting places in and around the river Sligachan and Allt Dearg Mor, but my first stop was Loch Nan Eilean, a small lochan easily seen from the A863 a short 10 minute walk (or 2 minute drive!) from Hotel Sligachan.
From Loch Nan Eilean, I went back towards Sligachan but stopped at the small layby to pick up the footpath heading south-west. A short 5 minute walk from the road is a series of small waterfalls/cascades of Allt Dearg Mor, that make the perfect foreground for the Cuillin range behind:
After a good hour or so walking up and down the river, I then headed back to Hotel Sligachan, initially thinking about breakfast, but decided to cross the road over to the river to see what the photographic opportunities were like. It was then that I saw a frozen pond, reflecting the clear blue sky and the Cuillin mountains, filled with yellow reeds. I spent a further 30 minutes here working on different compositions, and came away with what is my favourite image from my entire trip (taken less than 30m from the room in which I was staying!):
Sea Eagle Boat Trip
The middle of the day can be tough when taking landscape photographs, the sun is often too high in the sky, giving very harsh shadows. Therefore, I decided to try and take in some of the wildlife that can be seen in and around Skye, and take a boat trip to see the White Tailed Sea Eagles. I had read good reviews of the Brigadoon Boat Trips (they sail from Portree), so decided to book on a trip out in to the Sound of Rasaay to try and photograph the Sea Eagles.
The Brigadoon Boat Trips quote a 90-odd% success rate for seeing the Se Eagles, and I wasn’t disappointed. We saw three in total, a new young pair and an older more established male. The problem was that the new pair were trying make a bid for territory, so were perched on a rock, intent on not moving. The older male, was also set on watching the new pair, ensuring they were aware of his presence, but not flying. That meant that none of the birds took to the air whilst we were watching, which was a shame, but we did manage to make a couple of fairly close passes allowing to take these images:
It was a shame that I didn’t get to see the eagles take any fish from the water, but was impressive to see these huge birds none-the-less.
I wanted to try a location that was a little different for sunset on my final evening, so went up to the northern tip of the Trotternish peninsula to Duntulm Bay. It’s quite a small bay, but is covered in huge round pebbles (more boulders, than pebbles actually). This was the first time that my 10-stop filter was used for this whole trip:
The sunset never did materialise as the weather deteriorated into a drizzly, cloudy evening,so it was back to the hotel to pack ready for my trip back the following day.
Goodbye to Skye
To get to Inverness airport in time for my flight I had to be up and on the road before sunrise. I was on the road, heading for the Skye bridge when I saw the mountains of mainland Scotland against the pre-dawn sky. My tripod was packed away in my suitcase, so using my telephoto lens, and the trusty image stabilisation, I was able to make this panorama (7 images, handheld, ISO320, f/11, 1/15th sec) – I’m a sucker for layers:
So that was the final image from my trip to Skye. 4 days (well, 3.5) wasn’t really enough to do the island justice, so I’m certain at some point I will go back. I found that taking the time off work and booking a dedicated photography trip meant that I put a lot of pressure on myself to come away with some ‘decent’ images. I haven’t finished processing all of the images I want to, but from what I have shared so far, I am quite pleased with the results.
Not knowing the area at all for this trip meant that I aimed for the more well known locations, often spotting other places on the way, but not stopping for having to get to a location. I’m very eager to go back and further explore the potential beyond the locations shared here, but for the mean time, I hope that this trip report/location guide comes in useful for other folk planning their first trip to Skye.