Although my photo trips in 2016 were limited there is one stand out feature – Scotland. They started in the Scottish Borders and finished by visiting the most northerly points on the British mainland including Cape Wrath on my North Coast 500 trip. It is not my intention to repeat those trip reviews but to share a number of my favourite photos of the year.
My visit to the Scottish Borders started by passing through the Northumberland National Park which was celebrating it’s 60th year since formation in 1956 so although I have other favourites from there I have only included the one below so I stick to the theme for this post. This is Hareshaw Linn or has I have renamed it “Creative Cascades”. Here the Hareshaw Burn plunges over a band of resistant sandstone overlying softer shales. The waterfall erodes the shales and undercuts the harder rocks which collapse in blocks allowing the flowing water to display creative cascades.
Now into the Borders and two photos from the Eildon Hills and it’s surroundings. First up is where I started my walk to the top of the hills. Originally a reservoir for a local hospital now privately owned it is known as Bowden Loch or by some as the Swan Pond. Eildon Mid Hill is prominent in the background centre left, with Eildon Little Hill to the right. Unfortunately, my visit didn’t coincide with when the water lilies were in full bloom.
Not the highest of the hills that form the Eildon’s but the summit of Eildon North Hill is crowned by the largest hill fort in Scotland. St. Cuthbert’s Way crosses the Eildon Hills on its way from Melrose to Lindisfarne.
North Coast 500
Moving on to my North Coast 500 trip and the first photo is from the summit of the Bealach na Bà where there are some spectacular views across to the islands of Raasay and Skye on which the Cuillins dominate the landscape.
Shortly after descending from Bealach na Bà, you are presented with the view of Applecross Bay, one of the largest sandy inlets in the Western Highlands. The River Applecross pushes its way seaward through a shallow red sandy bay forming interesting patterns.
On arriving at Durness on the evening before my long-awaited trip over to Cape Wrath I was fortunate to capture the evening light over the Kyle of Durness. Looking southwards across the Kyle, Beinn Spionnaidh dominates the skyline on the left, and Foinaven is just to it’s right. The standing stone is modern, erected in 2000 by the Durness Youth Club to remember the Celtic past and pay homage to the local history.
Probably the most unusual sight of the year was on the north coast of Caithness at Dunnet Bay. The bay is 2 miles wide and 4 miles deep, with a broad sandy beach – one of the longest in Scotland. Although I tried to find out more about the strange patterns that had been created on the beach during overnight heavy rain I have still not established exactly what it is. All I can say is that it is a type of red seaweed.
My next photo shows Castle Sinclair Girnigoe which must be one of the most amazing castle locations I have seen. Located about five miles north of Wick the Castle is dramatically and grandly situated on a long narrow peninsula projecting into Sinclair Bay and the North Sea with perpendicular sides of between fifty and sixty feet.
Next, we have my favourite Intimate Landscapes of the year which was captured at Littleferry on Loch Fleet, where apart from these amazing colourful pebbles you can see the old cottages that were once home to the ferryman and pilot who serviced the old ferry for those wishing to travel between Dornoch and Golspie.
People say to me how do I always get sunshine and blue skies when I go to Scotland – presumably meaning that they don’t. Although I had some magnificent days on these trips you may have noticed that not all photos feature such weather so just to appease all of those who prefer the sun and blue skies photos I am finishing this year’s favourites with this one of Tarbat Ness on the Tarbat Peninsula which is famous not only for its beauty and tranquillity but also as it is the most Eastern point of the north of Scotland.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing what I consider to be my favourites of 2016 but if you have seen others that you prefer then I would be delighted to hear from you.
Finally, can I just thank everyone for following my photographic journey for another year and I look forward to hopefully sharing more photo trips with you in 2017 and beyond.
Happy New Year !!!