Scotland Bound

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by bill schwab, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    I am excited to be headed for a week if shooting in Scotland later this month with the plan to roam the western coast, Skye and perhaps ferry to Harris/Lewis in the outer Hebrides. I have been in contact with Trevor (Yerbury) who lives outside Edinburgh who says he may come over for a meet and perhaps a day of shooting. Anyone else who might live in the area that might be interested in having a Scotland APUG day? Although I have not yet booked, I am planning to base for 1-3 days at The Skye Picture House, http://www.skyepicturehouse.co.uk/ run by Steve and Gill Terry. That may be a good place if so. I will be in-country from the 17th to the 25th with the stay on Skye most likely around the weekend of 20-22nd.

    Also, it has been almost 25 years since I've had the pleasure of a visit to Scotland and, although I have a pretty good idea of where I want to return, I was hoping for any suggestions from those who know the area. I cover a LOT of ground at times while working.

    Oh yes... I've heard about the snowy weather. I can only hope! I live in Michigan and am quite used to the stuff.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    Bill
    www.billschwab.com
     
  2. roy

    roy Member

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    You will enjoy it there and there could be no better hosts to help you plan your visit. I spent a week on the island as part of a photographic holiday a few years ago.
     
  3. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    You lucky devil Bill!

    I would suggest getting hold of a copy of Joe Cornish's "Scotlands Coast"
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...43042/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_3_1/202-8354923-4211050

    He spent a couple of years on this project and covered a lot of ground. Although his style is very different from yours, you will be able to easily identify areas/locations from the images and text which interest you most.

    HTH

    Baxter
     
  4. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Thanks Roy. I've heard nothing but good things and have hoped to stay there for awhile now.

    Great suggestion Baxter! Ordering as I speak.

    Thank you!

    Bill
     
  5. mono

    mono Subscriber

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    Bill,
    you will enjoy Scotland! I always do!!
    You might get some impressions on my website ;-))

    And the stay with Gill and Steve will help you on the Isle of Skye.
    Please send them my best wishes, we know each other from several visits each time we are there.

    Oh, how I wish I could accompany you.
    Winter is the only time we have not been to Scotland so far...
     
  6. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    Scotland, You lucky dude !
    While I live in Ireland I've never been to Scotland but would love to some day.

    In the meantime I've just ordered a DVD by Charlie Waite called Seeing Scotland. Might be an idea for you to do also, he also shoots a v series hasselblad in this dvd.

    Enjoy your trip!
     
  7. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Hello Fin and Folker,

    Thank you both for the tips. I will go check the Charlie Waite site.

    Folker.. great work! I remember now seeing these back when we were messaging back and forth. I have never been in Winter either and have planned to the last several years. Something else always comes-up ad gets in the way.

    I've been digging through boxes of 4x5 negs I did there back in 1983 and have been feeling a strong calling to get back. I may post a couple of these oldies to the gallery as they still hold-up nicely. This is a spur of the moment kind of thing, but my best trips happen this way.

    Thanks again,

    Bill
     
  8. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Bill I'd love to meet up with you but I'm booked by IlfordPhoto to teach workshops in Mobberley and masterclasses in 3 Glasgow Colleges at the time you are in Scotland. The west coast is the place to be and if you get the chance go up to Sandwood Bay and on to Durness which is on the far north coast just along from Cape Wrath. This area, particularly Durness, is my absolute favourite part of Scotland.

    Have a good shoot and don't imbibe too much of the local falling down water.
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I've always enjoyed Charlie Waite's work, his video looks interesting, but looks like it is only avalible in PAL (won't work in the US). He does have a couple of other titles in NTSC however (US standard). Thanks for passing along the link.
     
  10. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Les! It would have been great to toss a few back with you. Happy that Ilford has you gainfully employed though. If you are busy, it is a GOOD thing. Especially with Ilford.

    The very fact you recommend it means I will go Les. Looking at the maps just now.

    Thanks Les! I can't guarantee anything on the latter though. Village public houses are my weakness. Do they still brew Younger's #3? A nice McEwan's will be good too.

    Bill
     
  11. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I envy you Bill. I have been to Scotland with the wife on 2 trips back at the tail end of the last century. Now that my kids are getting older I am hoping to go back (Ireland as well) and take the ULF gear. You do some really wonderful work and I look forward to seeing the results from this trip.
     
  12. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    Bill: If it is available in the areas where you travel, you should also try Belhaven brews. Only two or three are imported into the Excited States (Belhaven Ale, St. Andrews and Wee Heavy, afaik), but there are more in Scotland, of course.

    Les was however perhaps referring to the non-foamy libation, the Water of the Gods. One of my dreams is to travel Scotland, capturing its beauty on format and sampling the fine amber liquids. But I am afraid the latter would limit the results of the former.

    Earl
     
  13. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    You can see where my mind is going! Into each journey, a little rain must fall. I am hoping it will be less than more.

    Thanks for the tip Earl. I will look out for the alternative Belhaven Brews.

    Bill
     
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  15. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Is'nt that where the make scotch? If so, I better not go just yet...I have to finish the darkroom...
     
  16. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    Usually I try to push people to the Borders or Galloway as well as the Highlands, but if you only have a week that'll be a lot of driving. So I would second the recommendation to head further north from Skye and spend sometime up beyond Ullapool or round the top end of Scotland.

    Let me know if you'd like accomodation recommendations or cheat-sheet locations in Coigach. I usually take abstractions, but here's an overview looking north from Achnahaird:

    http://web.telia.com/~u46133221/pics/achnahaird03.jpg

    Take your wellies.
     
  17. mono

    mono Subscriber

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    Bill,
    as Les already said, Durness and the North coast is worth visiting
    or anything north of Ullapool:

    The Summer Isles and the Assynth, all the Northwest-Coast is most interesting, rocks and sea...

    Looking forward to your work!
    It is great anyway!
     
  18. manalishi

    manalishi Member

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    Hi Bill,

    have a great time in scotland! I read in an earlier thread that also plan a trip to iceland to this year!? I'm an iceland fan. may I ask when you plan to visit iceland? winter, spring, summer? and what regions you prefer?

    thanks!

    manalishi
     
  19. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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    There is a small island called Seil just south of Oban that is well worth a visit. You get to it via a bridge and the polace is like a miniture Scotland all on it's own. Also, Ayreshire is very nice indeed. HAve fun and take care
     
  20. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Thank you all so much! I wish I had APUG around when I did a lot of my earlier trips. Judging by what I am being told, the north is the place. I've never made it further north that Stornoway on Lewis and now feel compelled to go first into uncharted territory north and work my way back into more familiar places. A lot will depend upon the weather as well.

    Struan... I am always interested in cheat-sheet locations!

    I am hoping to do the ICeland trip in September Manalishi. I was also hoping for a Winter trip, but decided on Scotland for now. I just need to get out there and work and figured less familiar territory would get the creative juices flowing.

    My favorite places in Iceland would have to be in the east as well as the south coast near Vik. I love the area around Hofn. The only area I cannot speak of as of yet are the northwest fjords. Haven't been there.... yet. As for time of year... Spring has become my favorite, The place comes alive and the sound of birds is incredible.

    Thanks again everyone!

    Bill
     
  21. manalishi

    manalishi Member

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    Thanks so much Bill!
    have a successful trip to Scotland! I also like east of Iceland - have been there once - in Summer. May I ask one more question, how often have you visited Iceland?

    best wishes,
    manalishi
     
  22. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Certainly Manalishi! I have been 4 times now, but still not in mid-summer or winter. I have been told summer can be crowded, but in Iceland THAT is hard to imagine. If I do decide to do the book, I feel I'll need a few more visits and at least one journey into the northwest fjords before I feel confident in the complete portfolio. Currently I have about 20-30 strong images and I would like about twice that before culling them into a book. I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to editing my own work and I won't spare the hatchet when it comes to a good solid book.

    Thanks again Manalishi... that package I mentioned will be on the way soon.

    Bill
     
  23. manalishi

    manalishi Member

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    Thanks again Bill,

    thought the same, that Iceland can be crowed in summer, but thought wrong... it wasn't that bad, only a fistful of tourists..... I have been talking to several people and they said that they have a strong tourist decline, because Iceland is so expensive... Anway... wish you luck in your work! And hoping for an Iceland book of your work sometime, when you have been at the NW-fjords! ;-)

    Thanks,
    manalishi
     
  24. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    Bill, I started thinking about where to recommend, and came up with a list of the things I want to do over the next fifty years. Since you've only a few days, I've edited it down a bit.

    First, a word of warning. The Scottish hills and countryside look quite tame, but can and do kill the unwary. Unless you have a lot of winter hiking experience and can navigate in featureless terrain with zero visibility, I would recommend staying close to the road or hiring a qualified mountain guide. It pains me to say this, as I have had some of my most life-enhancing experiences in the Scottish mountains, but they have also provided all of my most life-threatening ones. For sheer grinding strength-sapping misery, nothing can beat the Scottish combination of wet, wind and near-zero temperatures. The mountain rescue teams are the best in the world, but ask yourself how they got that way :smile:

    Second, the scenics. These are spots where landscape photographers tend to gather and gawp, often with road turnouts, and if the light is bad you can buy a postcard.

    - Three sandy beaches: Achnahaird, Old Shore More, and Sandwood Bay. In the right light you will never want to leave. Achnahaird and Old Shore More you can drive right up to. Sandwood Bay is a four mile walk, first along a track and then across peat bogs

    - A835 Roadside Romanticism: Ullapool from the main road (pullouts on both sides of town); Ardmair a few miles north (where the road does a sharp right); Looking West from Drumrunie.

    - Coigach views: Drive the road from the junction at Drumrunie, round to Achiltibuie and on to it's end at Culnacraig. If you don't see anything worth photographing it's time to sell your cameras. On the way back, take the loop through Polbain and Altandhu and back over the hill to Brae of Achnahaird. Ditto. When you get to the top of the hill, don't forget to look backwards to the Summer Isles. There's a good wide pullout at the summit, with a short scramble up to a cairned outcrop with a truly superb 360° view. Finally, if you want some fun, when leaving the peninsula take the "Mad Road" to Lochinver through the dingly dells of Inverpolly and Strath Kirkaig: see the bleached bones of the German RV drivers who couldn't reverse.

    Third, my favourite scenic places on Coigach. For these, you may need to walk a few miles: your call on the weather, but bear in mind that the path will be non-existent to rough. The numbers are map references on the Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50 000 map, sheet 15, "Loch Assynt and surrounding area".

    - Fox Hill (NC002119). A cheat this, you can nip up the potholed road to the microwave relay station from Altandhu. The road is easily doable in a family car in summer; in winter you might slip into the ditch. Great views in all directions (the shot in my first post was taken here), but for the Summer Isles you'll need to move to the higher, southern peak, Meall an Fheadain (NB999109). On the east side of the hill are peat cuttings and lazy beds that catch the dying light nicely, and stone and iron age hut circles if you're into that mists of time look.

    - Rubha a' Chairn (NC008159). Looks down on the rocks of Camus Coille, with good views of the tip of Coigach and across Enard Bay to Stoer.

    - Cnoc Mor (NC010145) the top of the hill above the tame part of the coastline. Similar to Rubha a' Chairn, but better views of the mountains.

    Finally, places to potter. These are the ones that reward repeated visits, or a lucky strike in good light. Interesting geology, flora or process patterns rather than grand views.

    - Achnahaird beach. Most people head for the shoreline, but the dunes, the machair and the salt marsh by the burn at the road end of the beach are a goldmine of abstracts.

    - Rubh a' Choin (NC033149). Oddball rocks that have reputedly sent more than one geologist mad. The walk round the coast from Achnahaird is not too stiff, but the easiest way in is via Garvie Bay from the parking pullout near the cattle grid (NC039130). Further round is the old Salmon Bothy at the head of a hidden cove (NC028146), possibly the single most romantic location in the Northern Hemisphere.

    - Reiff. The cliffs looking onto the bay of Camas Eilean Ghlais (NB965152) get most attention, but the west-facing rocks (NB962148) between them and the village of Reiff are more interesting to me.

    - Faochag Bay (NB974173). The walking guides say it's boring and to cut it out of any walk round the coastline. They are right. Stay away. Dull, dull dull.


    Last but not least, accomodation. There are lots of self-catering chalets and crofts on the southern side, as well as guest houses, B+Bs, a youth hostel and a posh hotel. Tourist offices will be able to tell you what's open and available, but I can't recommend anything specific. In Achnahaird, there are very well-appointed self-catering apartments at Achnahaird Farm (www.achnahairdfarm.com, call Marilyn Mackenzie on 01854 622348). This is where we stay. In the village itself the Greens have a lovely house to let (www.stacpollaidh.com, call Sheila Green on 01854 622340) but I think their log cabin is now gone. For more general local information and to order groceries to be delivered in advance, Polbain Stores (www.polbain.com) is a good place to start.

    Have fun. Don't get lost. Don't try all the malts in one night.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2006
  25. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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  26. mono

    mono Subscriber

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    Struan,

    that is exactly where we spent our holidays last year!! That area is glorious and I think it is a MUST for Bill to visit.

    I exactly agree with all your proposals and have no better idea ;-))

    So Bill, go on, there is no better way of shooting!
    And: The first copy of your Scotland book is mine ;-))

    Best Wishes!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2006