Donald Ford Images - Scotland's golf and landscape photographer

A magical morning in Moray

The plan for an early morning visit to Moray ( or, more specifically, to catch dawn over Lochindorb on Dava Moor ) had been hatching in my mind since January. Those who know the highly exposed B9007 which heads towards Nairn and Forres off the Carrbridge to Grantown of Spey road will understand just how remote it is, particularly in the early hours of the morning, just before the sun makes its first appearance. I had visited Lochindorb, complete with the island remains of its fascinating castle, on two previous occasions. The first, as usual, was totally at the wrong time. The second was exactly at the right time for sunrise pictures - but the forecasters had got it pretty badly wrong!

This August visit, however, proved to be much more fruitful. The 2.30 a.m. departure from Carnoustie had me turning right off the B9007 on to the little link road which heads down to Lochindorb about half an hour before sunrise. I found the ideal spot to park for what promised to yield a few nice images, across the water - north-easterly - to the clearing skies above the moor. There was one immediate hiccup; within ten minutes I had been gleefully assaulted by scores of midges - do they NEVER sleep??!! A quick conversion of a plastic carrier bag, suitably pierced for eye holes, provided reasonable protection, a chorus from nearby grouse and other feathered moorland friends greeted the sunrise, while a succession of nice shots across the water completed a pretty satisfactory - if scratchy - start to an exciting morning.

The golf course at Forres, beautifully located on undulating ground to the south-east of the town, was the next destination. Just twenty minutes or so from Lochindorb, it was gloriously bathed in the early morning sunshine. Tree shadows, contours, August dew and a superbly presented course yielded one great shot after another; plan 'B' was, therefore, also successfully completed - see the pic attached. I had also decided to have a look at the two links courses at Lossiemouth. It was not the ideal time of day to do them justice ( late afternoon and evening is by far the best time of day for this seaside jewel in Scottish golf ) but two or three nice images still resulted from the visit.

The final instalment in this Morayshire adventure was to be a first - if it worked. I had never managed to find the great view down over the Spey as it nears Fochabers; close to the Speyside Way, it required another VERY narrow minor road to be explored, ideally from the Fochabers end as it heads south towards the Rothes area. Courtesy of a couple of very helpful locals in the town, I eventually found it ( NOT easy without any signposts or directional help whatsoever! ) and, after two false starts, I eventually reached the elevated vantage point at Ordiequish, where a little row of houses looks downwards over the Spey as it approaches the final few miles of its tortuous, but glorious, journey to empty into the Moray Firth at Spey Bay. Beautiful as the morning - and the view - now was, however, the water level of the river was extraordinarily low. The lovely summer weather over July and August had certainly been a welcome sight for visitors and locals, not to mention the agricultural industry as well, of course. Those whose major pleasures are in salmon fishing, however, will not be happy people, I suspect, as the sport on many of Scotland's major rivers must surely have been affected this year. It simply underlines how no-one is exempt from the vagaries of the Scottish weather. As a photographer, of course, I have been fully aware of that for years.....this morning, however, had - from my point of view - just been glorious.

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