There are few places in Europe that possess such dramatic emotion in frame as the Highlands of Scotland.
And it was no different during our recent photography trip to the country’s northern and western areas. Rich, rewarding and less populated than the Southern region, the highlands left us with a feeling of being more remote, and connected with nature throughout our journey. We began in Cairngorms National Park, which is a new park, and only an hour-drive from Inverness.
Cairngorms is a landscape pieced together from mountains, streams, lochs and beautiful forests. All seasons of the year are great for photography here, due to the dynamic vistas found throughout. We were there in the autumn, but too early for the fall colors to be in full swing. What we did find during this time was moody skies and dramatic clouds that made for beautiful sunsets.
Next on the itinerary were the isles of Harris and Lewis, often referred to as part of the Outer Isles, or the Hebrides. This is what we came for. These two islands aren’t frequently visited and well-worth the 90-minute ferry ride. As a photographic guide, Harris and Lewis are likely my own favorite destination in all of Scotland for landscape photography. Whether it’s the early hours of daybreak or the breath-taking horizon at sunset, the beaches offer countless opportunities to capture. Maybe it’s the unique rocks and sandy beaches or the hills and changing skies that make it for great photography, but I think it’s a combination of them all that make it such a special place. While on these islands, it can feel like a time capsule, transporting us far away from the norms of daily life. It’s a feeling that is transformative and alive. As in many places in Scotland, Gaelic is represented on all traffic signs, as well as, English. When visiting, try to pick up a few words, and develop a taste for haggis or black pudding.
Our trip concluded with a ferry to the Isle of Skye, which is a hotspot for landscape photographers. It’s popular due to its mountainous terrain and dramatic weather. While difficult to know what kind of weather will present itself, photography is as simple as pointing the lens in almost any direction for images that stir the soul. After all, photography is about visual storytelling, capturing the sense of beauty on Skye is easier than in other places because of the endless peaks and deep valleys.
We agreed that there was one more stop to make and headed towards the Talisker distillery, because there is nothing like a wee dram of whisky in the middle of the day to keep the spirits alive!
To avoid the crowds during your visit to the Scottish Highlands, avoid the summer months of June through August. The tourist numbers drop beginning in September and October is recognized as a fantastic month for cooler, crisper weather and the brilliant colors of Autumn. We also recommend considering late Spring as the flowers are blooming and the tourist numbers are not yet on the rise.
Speak to a Travel Designer today to start your own journey to the Highlands of Scotland!