The Scottish Highlands



Day 1 -Glen Coe/Fort William & Glen Etive
We spent our first day in Scotland exploring Glen Coe and Fort William. We arrived, tired, the night before, so decided to get up early and catch the sunrise. But, as expected for Scotland in January the sky was grey and there was heavy rainfall quite literally all day, still unclear if the sun rose at all during our stay. Despite this we still decided to head out early after breakfast, our first stop was the nearby Loch Eil. Because who doesn't love a moody water photo, right? It was quiet, but we were watched from afar, by people in their car, sheltered from the rain. And, of course the camera shy seagulls, on their rocks, who were frequently disturbed by the clicking of my camera. From here we headed down to Glen Coe, (Classic tourists) then stopped off at An Torr and Signal Rock for a nice strole through the woods, did I mention it was (still) raining?
We took an unplanned turn down into Glen Etive and it was probably one of the best decisions we made the entire trip. The road was one of the nicest I've ever driven on, much like the rest of Scotland. It was quiet and mostly single track, with an icy river flowing and snowcapped mountains in the distance. Luckily, (not a word used often when it comes to us) there were plenty of deer ready to pose just as we arrived. Meaning I could get a typical M&S christmas shortbread tin photo. So, Marks and Sparks, if you need one for 2018, you know where I am. 


Day 2- Glenfinnan Viaduct &  Isle of Skye
Day two had some of the worst weather we experienced while in Scotland, with more rain than I've ever seen. I've tried to think of this as a 'true' Scottish experience, but really it was just Scotland in January. We spent most of this day getting drenched, praying and waiting for the rain to stop for even just a moment so I could get a shot. Thankfully, the rain did stop, albeit not for long, which made it possible to get some shots of -as made famous by Harry Potter- Glenfinnan Viaduct. The scale is of it is just incredible, definitely somewhere I'd recommend, whether you're a fan of the boy wizard or not. 
Then we sat, soaked through, in the car for 2 hours on a drive to the Isle of Skye. The strange thing about Scotland is that it feels so otherworldly. The roads are quiet and stretch out for miles ahead of you, there are great lochs on one side and towering mountains on the other, I could never tire of such views. I just couldn't pass up an opportunity, when the rain had ceased, to get my drone up and capture the roads in all their glory. 


Day 3 - The Quiraing & Old Man of Storr
I think the Quiraing was my favourite spot throughout the whole trip. It simply has everything you could want, rain included. The contrast between the severe cliff faces and the soft, winding road that leads you through them is something that captivated me most about this place. I got some amazing drone shots here where a nearby loch really provides scale of the place.
As is tradition by now, on any of our trips, we will attempt something unfeasible and potentially dangerous to get the best shots. In Scotland this was trying to walk up Old Man of Storr in the middle of winter, after serious snowfall. What can I say, we've had better ideas. Having learned from our previous days soaking, we donned walking boots, and full on, embarrassing dad, waterproofs. Only to get so far up we couldn't see and could neither make progress forward or backwards due to the snow and ice. But, the views were incredible and probably an experience not many people would be stupid enough to see themselves.
On this night we opted to stay in a 'Pod', which seem to be popping up all over the UK at the moment. Fitted with underfloor heating it was the perfect place to stay, out of the rain and keep warm for the night. They come complete with your own little kitchenette and seating areas. So watching the stars over Scotland while I edited the days photos was a total dream.
It was on the Isle of Skye that we got our first glimpse of Scotland in the sun, let me tell you, I felt like I'd never seen colour like it before. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of a moody photo, but that first ray of sun through the clouds, catching the road just right was sheer perfection. The trees were such a vivid green, I felt like the world had gone from b/w to technicolour, and it was simply glorious. 


Day 4 - Kintail
Day four saw less rain, more sun, which was a welcome relief, and more driving, but there were many stops on the way. One being to see Eilean Doran castle, which is only accessible by a little bridge, making it all the more spectacular. I'd have loved to get a drone shot of this place and had planned to come back. But the rain wouldn't allow it. Meaning I've just got a reason to head back to the Highlands, but maybe not in Winter.
Another of my favourites comes in the shape of a dock onto a loch. Perfect in every weather. And Scotland has docks and lochs aplenty. With the dark water and the trees providing the perfect backdrop, what's not to like? 



Day 5 - Glen Coe

We ended our trip in Glen Coe, really would there be any other place to end a road trip around the Highlands? Rounded off nicely with grey skies and a bit more rain, but a good day overall. I'm thankful for the weather, as I'm now more than equipped to deal with the weather and know the exact type of plastic bag to wrap my camera in when condensation builds up on the lens and renders it useless. The more you know.
If there's one thing we learned from our trip to Scotland, it is definitely to not care about how stupid you look when you're wearing 5 layers, 2 coats and head to toe waterproofs that crinkle when you walk. Being dry and warm will never be overrated. I may just be saying this to sooth my ego, but enduring the near constant rain definitely made this trip authentic, what is Scotland without a little (a lot) of rain?





Places we stayed:
The Cruachan Hotel, Fort William
The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse Pods on airbnb
The Neuk Achmore on airbnb