Having had an amazing week in Assynt, North Highlands, our second week of the holiday was based in Nairn.
I had a few photo projects as a bucket list for this second week. One included attempting to capture the sunrise through the arch of Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie, and the other was a wild camp with my dog Willow on some mountain top to capture a sunset and hopefully sunrise while camping.
Arriving at Nairn, the first evening delivered a super sunset that enabled me to get some photos by the pier:
It was then off to bed reasonably early due to setting a 2.45am alarm with plans to drive over to Portknockie to get the planned sunrise shot. The weather looked perfect from the forecast and despite cloud on the horizon while driving over there, the visit met expectations!
The next few days had a real focus on attempting to get some dolphin photos. Not as straight forward as planned, with the unpredictability of nature, along with unfortunate timing on one of the visits. The full story and selection of photos can be see in my Photographing Dolphins at Chanonry Point blog. Here's a taste of the sort of photos I was privileged to take:
After one of the failed dolphin visits, I drove around Black Isle to explore the coastline and scenery and found a great walk with Willow that went up Fairy Glen and included a number of really picturesque waterfalls and streams:
Once again, there was a superb sunset at Nairn on the Monday evening. Discovering a new location further up the beach provided great opportunities for some variety in my 'Nairn sunsets'!
As the week progressed I was slowly running out of time to get the wild camp arranged. However the forecast on the Wednesday evening looked good and so packing the rucksack with tent and other 'essentials' I headed off with Willow to Drumnadrochit to climb Meall Fuar-mhonaidh, a mountain I've climbed both in snow and good weather!
At only 699m, it isn't very high compared to other mountains in the area, but with a 25kg rucksack on my back, camera in a harnessed case on my front and boggy terrain, it was a gruelling 1.5 hour hike to the top - with Willow on a lead due to lack of trust with endless moors and deer/sheep/grouse scent! It was a lesson on redefining 'essentials' when wild camping. Next time I plan to cut back by 10kg hopefully!
It was all worth it by the time I reached the top, with great views in every direction. I set up the tent as the first task, and gave Willow some extra protection from the strong chilly wind.
It was then time to concentrate on getting photos of the setting sun and surrounding landscape. It is tough to beat being in such a location with these sort of views on a clear sunny summer's evening!
With the strong wind rattling the tent, it didn't seem like much sleep was caught during the night and waking around 4.30am with the hope of a decent sunrise was not quite as expected when I unzipped the tent door! The only photo worth taking was with the mobile phone to serve as a reminder of the low lying cloud and lack of view, and the cold! This photo below was taken when there was a momentary glimmer of colour in the sky from the sunrise, before being engulfed again with mist/cloud!
There wasn't much else to do other than pack up and head back to the car, driven on by the anticipation of a big breakfast and hot shower when I got back to the flat we were staying in - along with plans of having a lighter rucksack next time!
So another holiday in Scotland drew to a close, following a fantastic couple of weeks. As we returned home we called into my brother and his family just north of the Lake District to see his work on the excellent Stocks Wood Outdoor Centre business he has started. Then as we started the final leg of the journey home we found a suitable spot to capture the last sunset of the holiday!