A week in the Scottish North Highlands

Over the years we've had the privilege to visit various locations throughout Scotland for holidays. This has included the Isle of Mull, Isle of Skye, Cairngorms, as well as the west coast. This year we visited Assynt, an area to the north west of Scotland in the North Highlands.

The weather forecast for the week didn't look too promising, but knowing the unpredictability of Scottish weather I looked forward to exploring new areas of the Scottish coastline that we hadn't visited before.

The weather over the weekend of our arrival wasn't too good, the photo below being a view with 'typical' Scottish weather as we travelled from Ullapool to where we were staying.

The photo below was on the road north from Ullapool with clearer weather out to the north:

We stayed in Lochinver, a small town on the north west coast. From the house we had great views of the harbour and Suilven mountain which overshadows the town.

Despite the poor weather during the weekend it started to brighten up on the Sunday evening and so I travelled back to a small bay that we had passed on our trip out earlier in the day. It turned out to be a cracking sunset. 

Loch an Eisg Brachaidh

It was even possible to get some great shots using the mobile phone.

It was a similar story the next day, with the weather not being too great during the day, but by evening the skies were brightening and so I revisited the same location as the night before but took up a different position on the hillside by the bay to watch the sun go down and the rising moon.

Loch an Eisg Brachaidh - revisited

The weather did improve during the week and provided opportunities to tour the beautiful coastline and lochs that made up the area of Assynt and Sutherland between Lochinver and Durness.

On the route from Lochinver towards Durness


Another opportunity for sunset photography came following an early evening ~7 mile run that took me up the hikers trail towards Suilven - a great way to explore! I took a few photos shown below with the phone while on the run, with plans to return later that evening for the sunset by Loch Druim Suardalain:

Loch Druim Suardalain

It was the right decision, with gorgeous colours cast across the loch during the golden hour and at one point the wind completely dropped resulting in the loch becoming almost mirror-like, reflecting the pastel colours of the sky and mountain line:

Remembering the weather forecast prior to our journey to Scotland, I felt well blessed with all the opportunities of what we had seen and the weather each evening so far.

Still more opportunities were yet to come when we took a road trip to Durness, to see Sango Bay along with the evening that followed.

Sango Bay - Durness

I would strongly recommend visiting Sango Bay, an amazing beach with great rock formations and an exciting surf!

With the weather so good, we decided to stay in the area for an evening meal with plans to catch the sunset. Sango Bay facing north wasn't ideal for getting sunset photos so I drove a short distant to the next bay, Balnakeil Bay, and headed off with the camera equipment and tripod to find a suitable spot to capture what turned out to be a stunning golden hour and sunset!

Balnakeil Bay

Below is a panoramic shot showing an unusual cloud formation like fingers extending down from the cloud base:

The weather turned wet towards the end of the week which itself emphasised what an amazing time it had been with so many photos opportunities to capture the North Highlands in all their splendour.

A place we will no doubt revisit in the future.