Finishing 2018 in the Highlands of Scotland

It was the season again and our Christmas visit to the Highlands of Scotland as the year drew to a close. It was to turn out different to previous visits with what seemed much less photographic opportunities on this occasion.

The first evening we were treated to views of the full moon, with initial glimpses of it through the clouds on the horizon looking excessively large - I was able later to capture this view of the moon ten minutes before it was truly at the ‘full moon’ point.

I had only one true photographic outing which was at the beginning of the week. Seeing that it looked like the best weather of the week was on the Monday, I was up early and headed north towards Loch Maree, with a plan to try and obtain some variations on the photos that I had taken from previous visits.

Getting there before sunrise, the moon was on it’s descent towards the horizon through the pink water coloured sky from the pre-sunrise colours, casting its reflection across the slightly rippling loch:

Leaving Willow in the car on this occasion, I wandered along by the loch, looking for suitable locations to pick up some photos when the sun rose and would cast its light across the mountain backdrop.

I was particularly struck by the symbolism of this tree below as it grew out of the rock. Such a picture that even in the hardest of circumstances it is possible for life and beauty to flourish. Definitely seemed that this tree was trying to imitate a bonsai!!

I couldn’t resist stopping to capture the obligatory jetty photo when driving back down the loch:

Then as I made my way further along the loch I noticed that the corner of the southern end was really still and giving great reflections. Pulling the car off the road into a suitable parking spot I headed down to the loch-side and just drank in the beautiful view - such stillness in such a stunning location.

It was then time to head off and give Willow an opportunity to stretch her legs. We took a walk up tracks that are part of the routes up to Ben Eighe with great views of the mountain range:

Little was I was to know that this would be the last opportunity of the week to get out for a long walk in the mountains with Willow as I was about to find out in a couple of days time.

But this trip wasn’t quite over! As we travelled back towards Inverness we were treated with some further great loch reflections along Loch Chroisg. It was like a mill pond as I drove over the brow of the hill and looked down to the loch. This was the view from the side of the road.

I drove down to the purpose made parking/stopping point beside the loch and had about 10-15 minutes opportunity to get some more photos:

It wasn’t long however before the first ripples started to appear and the mirror like reflection started to fade …

And that was it for this day out …. very much a case of being in the right place at the right moment!

Christmas Day was celebrated with the family, and then on Boxing Day I took Willow for a long walk along the edge of Culbin Forest. Returning along paths within the forest it was a decision I was later to regret. I normally steer clear of woods/forests with Willow, but for some reason didn’t this time. Part way back Willow saw another dog off the lead and did her normal run about like crazy, only to disappear off the path and come back holding her front leg up. I thought she had twisted her leg, but was soon walking normally again and I didn’t notice anything when I checked her leg. It was only when I returned back to our parents-in-law that we discovered she had ripped open the skin on her chest with a few deep puncture wounds and a large flap of skin ripped open exposing muscle underneath. She must have had a battle with barbed wire as the only explanation. An expensive emergency vet visit ensured to get her stitched up, and put an end to any plans for the rest of the week with her - as she was on mandatory rest and minimal activity.

The only way to really stop her being excited and running around (even in the house!) was to take a road trip the following day. I took a long round trip route to the north west coast of Scotland. The weather wasn’t too great but I stopped off on a few occasions to get the camera out, at least to have a record of the trip:

Ben Screavie viewed across Loch More

The view below was across Badcall Bay on the north west coast:

I was also treated to some views of a herd of deer stags as rain started to fall:

And my final reflection photos of the week as the light started to fade around sunset:

Ending another enjoyable, but different week in Scotland.